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The playtvrigkt desires to return his best thanks 
to Mr. Bernard Skate, tvho generously consented in 
advance to be introduced on tke stage under his oron 
name, and to the Lord Nortkcliffe, who gave a similar 
permission as regards tke "Daily Mail." 

To some readers this may seem an extravagant 
satire, but the writer's experience hitherto has been 
that his prophecies are only too surely fulfilled. 

by Google 

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The Superman. 


The Marchioness of Holloway\ Of ^^ Most 

The Lady Weils - - -I Noble Order 

The Lord Blatchford - -| "* Heiedi- 

The Lord Keik-Harme - .J tary Fabians. 

H.V.M. Maharajah Sm Singh] -y^. , 

Mahindar Adhiraj Ranjisin-I -J ^\ ^ ? 
GHji Bahaddr, K.G. - -I England. 

MuNSHi of the Viceroy. 

The Peruahent Prime Ministress. 

The Permanent Lady's Maid. 

The Physician of South-east Municipal District 
A. 2. 

F.B.O. 109 ) Caretakers of the 

C.F.I. 2270 J Shaw Memorial Hall. 

Teacher and Pupils (four of whom have speak- 
ing parts). 

ji Mechanical Chairman Of the Anti-Shavian 

Comrades and Nurses, etc. 

by Google 

Act I. 


Act II. 


Act III. 

the vice-regal cabinet 

Time, 24 hours. 


Digilized by Google 



Stage Directions. 

The scene represents the interior of the Shaw 
Memorial HaU, on the Adelphi Terrace, South- 
east Municipal District, A. 2. The building is in 
the Pseudo-Gothic style, with Depraved Edwardian 
detaib. A stained glass window at the back repre~ 
sents scenes in the life of Mr, Shaw, among them 
being the Battle with ike Censors, and the Duel 
with Chesterton. 

A smaU door on the spectator's left communicates 
with the Fabian Settlement. A larger door on his 
right opens into the street. Over the inner door is a 
clock, with the hands pointing to about twenty 
minutes to twelve. 

At the upper end of the hall is a dais guarded by 
a low gilt railing, in which there is a gate on the left. 
In the middle of the dais is a couch placed sideways 
to the audience. Round the couch are grouped five 
pieces of statuary in the following order from left to 
right : (i) A plaster cast of the Venus of Milo ; 
(2) A figure representing the popular type of John 
BuU ; (3) A group of St. George and the Dragon^ 
reproducing the design on the coinage; (4) A 
statue of Hamlet meditating on the skull; (5) A 
wooden Highlander, life-size, taking snuff from 
a mull. 

by Google 


On the couch Mr, Shaw lies in the enchanted 
sleep into which he was cast by the spell of a wicked 
Palmist in the pay of the Primrose League on St. 
George's Day, two hundred years before the Play 
opens. His head rests on a silken pillow, at the 
left ; the rest of the figure is hidden by a mantle of 
violet velvet trimmed with a fringe that appears to he 
of gold. The hair and beard have grown to an 
abnormal length, as in the case of the Emperor 
Frederick Barharossa. With the aid of an opera 
glass the figure can be seen breathing. 

A glass case stands against the wall between the 
dais and the street entrance, containing a partly 
burnt file of the Daily Mail. 

As the curtain rises Comrades F.B.O. log and 
C.F.I. 2270 are seen dusting the figures on the dais. 
Both wear the same costume, a simple sanitary one 
resembling, as closely as the Censor will permit, 
that worn in the present day by inmates of the labour 
settlements at Dartmoor and Portland. {If objected 
to by the Censorship, this costume can be modified 
in the direction of the Boy Scouts' uniform.) In 
addition the Comrades wear what look to the 
audience like iron collars soldered round their necks. 
{ These are supposed to be stamped with their regis- 
tered number and municipal district.) Round the 
right arm of F.B.O. is a red band to signify that he 
is of the inferior sex, as is explained in due course.^ 
The Comrades speak in the Cockney dialect of 
the day. 


C.FJ, is dusting John Bull. F.B.O. leaving 
the group of St. George and the Dragon, goes 
towards the Venus. 

C.F.I. You leave er alone. I've told you I 

won't ave you dust er. It ain't respectable. 

F.B.O. Gam ! You talk as if we was living in 
them bad old Capiterlist days. Don't you know 
that respectability's been abolished ? And she 
was one of them what elped to do it. 

C.F.I. Ho, yus ! I shouldn't wonder if she ad 
er reasons, if that was ow she wore er clothes. 

F.B.O. You oughter be ashamed, talkin like 
that. You know as well as I do it wasn't er 
fault. It was the fashion in that there Twentieth 
Century. That's ow they went to their dinner 
parties and dances. Low-necked dresses, they 
called em. 

C.F.I. I dessay ! If they called all that neck, 
I wonder what they called waist? I don't care; 
what I say is that it was all very well for them 
Primrose Dames to go about like that, but a 
Suffragette ought to ave dressed erself decent. 
Why she asn't even a necklace ! 

F.B.O. An ow do you know that she didn't 
dress like that on principle ? She may ave bin a 
Dress Reformer Hke im. (Points to the Highlander.) 
E ain't got no trousers on. 

C.F.I. Ah, but we knows all about im. Ewasa 
Labour Member, e was, and e couldn't afford 
anything more than that. 

F.B.O. That's all you know about it. E was the 
founder of the Boy Scouts, and that was is uniform. 


C.F.I. E wasn't. 

F.B.O. Look ere ; ave you passed the Ninth 
Standard ? 
C.F.I. No. 

F.B.O. Then don't conteradict me, because 
I ave. 

C.F.I. Ush ! Ere comes a class. 

The Comrades move aside to the right, 
and stand looking on. 

Enter from the street the Teacher of 

Standard V in Elementary School VII 

of South-east Municipal District A. 14. 

Ke looks round the hall, and then gives 

the following words of command, directing 

the movements of his class. 

Teacher. March ! — Right wheel ! — Left wheel ! 

— Halt ! — Right turn ! — Attention ! — Salute ! — 

Left turn ! — Left wkeel, march ! — Halt ! — Left 

turn ! 

In obedience to these orders a file of 
from twelve to twenty children, according 
as the size of the stage permits, enter from 
the street, and after saluting Mr. Shaw, 
as they march past, stand in a line on the 
left of the audience, facing the Teacher in 
the centre of the stage. 

Teacher and pupils are dressed like 
the Comrades, the Teacher and about 
half the pupils wearing the red band. The 
line as it comes down to the footlights 
is headed by a girl, next to whom is a boy 
without his distinguishing badge. The 
Teacher carries a wand. 



Teacher. Now let me see how much you know. 
Who was this f {Points to Mr. Shaw.) 

Voices. Comrade A. i. 

Teacher. What name was he known by in the 
Capitalist age f 

Voices. Shaw — Bernard Shaw — Saint George 
— ^Lloyd George. 

Teacher. {Impressively) Lloyd George Ber- 
nard Shaw. Why was he called Saint George f 
{PoirOs to group.) 

nSFiRST Pupil. Please, sir, cos e killed the 

Teacher. What Dragon ? 

First Pupil. The Dragon what tried to kill 

Teacher. Nonsense ! — ^Next girl ! — Why don't 
you answer ? 

Second Pupil. I ain't a girl, Pm a boy. 

Teacher. How am I to know that i Where's 
your red band i 

Second Pupil. Please sir, I think I must have 
lost it. 

Teacher. You miserable child ! Do you 
realize what that means ? Do you know that I 
shall have to fill up half-a-dozen different forms ? 
— a declaration that you have lost it, a requisi- 
tion for your birth certificate, a requisition to 
the municipal authority, a specification for the 
clothing department, a certificate to the educa- 
tional department — and I don't know what 
beside. It will take months to get another. You 
must turn up your sleeve meanwhile. {The 
pupil does so. The Teacher turns to the next 

by Google 


pupil.) Do you know what the Dragon stands 

Third Pupil, Please sir, the Censor.' 

Teacher. Well, you know something, but 
that isn't the right answer. Who can td& me i 
( J hand goes up.) Well ? 

Fourth Pupil. (In the tone of one reciting from 
memory.) The Dragon represents the CapitaUst 
System under which all wealth was the monopoly 
of a favoured few while the masses lived in a state 
of abject misery and servitude. 

Teacher. Good boy — girl, I mean. Go up. 
( The pupil walks with conscious pride to the top of 
the class.) And now can any one tell me what 
happened to him ? 

First Pupil. Please, sir, e was made to sleep. 

Teacher. Hypnotized, you mean. Sleep is 
not a scientific term. He was cast into the 
hypnotic state exactly two hundred years ago, 
while in the act of delivering a speech against the 
hideous practice of eating cows and sheep and 
other animals. Who caused him to be hyp- 
notized ? 

Second Pupil. The butchers. 

Teacher. (/m^iiii>M?/y) Do none of you know f 

Fourth Pupil. [Reciting as before) it is be- 
lieved that the crime was the work of an unscru- 
pulous Palmist employed by the enemies of the 

Teacher. Good. And who were the enemies 
of the People ? 


Third Pupil. Please, sir, weren't they people, 
too ? 

Teacher. Nonsense — Next i 

Second Pupil. The cows and sheep. 

Teacher. I am ashamed of you. The enemies 
of the People — ( Fourth Pupil raises a hand) Yes ? 

Fourth Pupil. ( Js before) The idle rich who 
wasted the earnings of the unhappy wage slaves 
on vicious amusements such as football, horse- 
racing and the theatre. — Please, sir ! 

Teacher. Yes, 

Fourth Pupil. Didn't the wage slaves ever 
amuse themselves as well ? 

Teacher. Hem ! Ah ! I see what you mean. 
All that will be explained to you when you get 
into the Ninth Standard. — Now, who is this ? 
{Points to Fenus.) 

Voices. Venus — Comrade A. 2. 

Teacher. Who was she f 

First Pupil. The leader of the Outragettes. 

Teacher. Suffragettes, you mean. And what 
do you know about her ? 

First Pupil. Please, sir, she ad no arms. 

Teacher. Wrong. Now who can explain to 
me the meaning of that f Why is she represented 
without them f 

Second Pupil. Cos the Government cut em off. 

Teacher. No. This is symbohsm. The sculp- 
tor means by this to indicate the helpless condi- 
tion of women before they received the franchise. 
Now what else can you tell me ? 

Third Pupil. By her influence and example 
she abolished the distinction between the sexes. 


Teacher. Very nearly, but not quite. She 
abolished the Capitalist marriage laws, and 
replaced them by the system of eugenic unions 
under the control of the Connubial Board. 

Fourth Pupil. What is a eugenic union, please 
sir ? 

Teacher. You will learn about that in the 
Ninth Standard. 

F.B.O. (He steps forward to open the gate in the 
railing.) Look out, mister ; ere comes the Fabians. 

Teacher. Quick ! — Right about face ! — On 
your right, kneel ! 

As the Teacher and pupils go down on 
one knee, facing the door on the left, it is 
opened from within, and there enter in 
procession the Marchioness of Hollo- 
way, Lady Wells, Lord Blatchford 
and Lord Keir-Hardie. 

The Marchioness, who is a majestic 
middle-aged person, wears a coronet and 
robe trimmed with ermine, inaccurately 
modelled on thecoronation robes ofapeeress. 
JjADY Wells, wha is young and beautiful, 
is dressed in the costume of a debutante at 
Court, also inaccurate in details. Lord 
Blatchford wears the hood and gown of a 
Doctor of Comparative Mythology in the 
University of Wapping over a Norfolk 
suit. Lord Keir-Hardie is in the even- 
ing dress of an unscrupulous private gentle- 
man of the E dwardian period, except for 
his tie, which is a bright red. 


JU four carry wreaths of enamelled 
flowers tokich tkey proceed to lay on Mr. 
Shaw. 7hey take no notice of the kneeling 
class, nor of the Comrades who open the 
gate for them. The manner of the 
ItlARCHiONESS ts that of the proud pro- 
prietor of a show i that of Lady Wells 
is tinged with girlish enthusiasm. ; Lord 
Blatchford xmi/f J cynically; and Lord 
Keir-Hardie lays down his wreath with 
an air of indignation, and turns away 

Marchioness. ( To the Teacher) What class is 
this i 

Teacher. Standard Five of Elementary School 
Eight of South-east Municipal District A. 14, 
may it please your Excellency. 

Marchioness. Let me see, where is that f 

Teacher. It used to be called Battersea. 

Marchioness. Ah yes, I remember. Do they 
know that it was once a home of slavery, from 
which their ancestors were delivered by the 
immortal poet, John Bums ? 

Teacher. I was just teaching them something 
about the Revolution when your Excellencies 
came in. 

Marchioness. {Graciously) Rise ! What is 
your name — number, I mean ? 

Teacher. (Stands up) T. W. 1 1 341, South- 
east Municip^ District K. 17, your Excellency. 

Marchioness. Go on ; I should like to hear 

by Google 


you. Do they know who we are ? They may 

Teacher. On your feet, stand ! { The class 
rises facing the Fabians.) Do you know who their 
Excellencies are ? 

Voices. Fabians. 

Teacher. Members of the Most Noble Order 
of Hereditary Fabians. What has that Order 
done for us ? — ( To Fourth Pupil) You. 

Fourth Pupil. It has put an end to civihza- 
tion, with all its attendant evils, and substituted 
the glorious era of freedom, equality and univer- 
sal comradeship. 

Marchioness. Very good. And do you know 
who I am ? ( The Fourth Pupil is silent.) Do 
you ? 

Second Pupil. Please, mum, you are er 
progeny. {Points to Fenus.) 

Teacher. I have just been telling them about 
your Excellency's great ancestress. — { To Pupils) 
Her Excellency is the Marchioness of HoUoway, 
Lady Superior of the Order. 

Marchioness, Surely they ought to know that 
without being told. I gave instructions to have 
my portrait hung up in every school in the 
country. Didn't you recognize me ? 

Voices. Yes — No. 

Marchioness. {To Second Pupil, who has said 
No) Why not ? 

Second Pupil. Please mum, because you look 
so old. 

Marchioness. How dare you — {To Teacher) 
— you, I mean ! This child is mentally deficient. 


rYou have no business to have her in your class. 
See that she is reported to the Medical Board. 
Teacher, Yes, your Excellency. I only dis- 
covered it this morning. She is really a boy. 
Marchioness. That makes it worse. He had 
better be sent to a home for the incurably insane. 
I shall have thisinquired into. What is his number ? 

Teacher. (Examining collar) V.L.L. 23, 
your Excellency. 

Marchioness. (Takes out tablets and makes a 
note) Very good. Go on. Let me see if the 
others are in their right minds. 

Teacher. This is Lord Blatchford. (Points 
him out with the tvand.) 

Blatchford. You needn't ask them anything 
about me. Stick to my illustrious ancestor. 

Teacher. Your Excellency will excuse their 
mistakes. Who was this ? (Points to John Bull.) 

Voices. Keirrardie — Blatchford — Wells. 

Teacher. Robert Blatchford, the great editor 
who first discovered the literary genius of Ber- 
nard Shaw, and published his immortal writings. 
What was the name of his paper ? 

Voices. The Daily Mail. 

Teacher. Right. In that glass case (Points to 
it) is preserved a burnt file of the Daily Mail for 
the last year of the Capitalist regime. To its 
charred pages we are indebted for nearly all we 
know of the extinct civihzation of the Twentieth 
Century. — And this ? (Points to Hamlet.) 

First Pupil. H.G.Wells. 

Teacher. Good. In him we recognize Ber- 
nard Shaw's favourite pupil, the inspired seer 


who mapped out the future of Humanity. What 
is the name of his most celebrated work ? 

Third Pupil. Robinson Crusoe. 

Fourth Pupil. Uncle Tom's Cabin. 

Teacher. Yes. For writing that work he was 
cast into the Clock Tower of London by order of 
the County Council. 

Lady Wells. You may tell them that I am 
his lineal representative. Do they know that the 
skull over which he is meditating is a symbol of 
the Superman ? 

Teacher. I was coming to that. {To pupils) 
You hear Lady Wells ? — And the last ? 

Voices. Keirrardie. 

Teacher. Come, you are all right this time. 
The ancestor of Lord Keir-Hardie. {Points him 
out.) Do you know why he is dressed like that i 

Fourth Pupil. Becausehe was the Chief Scout. 

Teacher. Good. 

Blatchford. That is one theory. But there 
is some reason to believe that this was the uni- 
form formerly worn by the soldiers employed by 
the capitalists to massacre the wage slaves. They 
were known as the Black Legs, or Black Watch, 
in consequence. It is thought by some scholars 
that Keir-Hardie was originally a Black Leg, who 
was converted to the cause of Humanity by the 
writings of Bernard Shaw ; and that he there- 
upon resigned his commission and sank to be a 
Member of Parliament. 

Marchioness. You will only confuse their 
minds. Some of them are idiotic enough already. 
( To Teacher.) That will do. Take them away. 


Teacher. Yes, your Excellency. — ^Now, child- 
ren, three cheers for the noble Order to which you 
owe your freedom and happiness. 

7he class-cheers faintly, and is marched 
out by the Teacher, in the way it came in. 
The Fabians come doton from the dais. 
Keir-Hardie. And this mummery goes on in 
the name of Socialism ! 

Marchioness. You forget that there are Com- 
rades present. (Turns to them.) That'll do. 
What are you staring there for ? Be off to your 

The Comrades go out hastily through 
the inner door. 

Blatchford. It always has gone on, and I 
suppose it always will. 

Lady Wells. For shame! You are worse than 
Lord Keir-Hardie. He does believe in the prin- 
ciple, but you believe in nothing. 

Blatchford. You don't expect a student of 
Comparative Mythology to believe in a set of 
curios like that, I hope. {Waves his hand towards 
the dais.) 

Marchioness. Please to remember that one of 
them represents my ancestress. 

Blatchford. I beg your pardon, Marchioness. 
I don't dispute that you had an ancestress, and 
that she played a part in the revolution. But 
you can't object to my saying that I doubt if that 
IS her statue. 

Marchioness. I would rather not hear your 
doubts. If you cannot see the likeness, others can. 

by Google 

Blatchfohd. Well, at any rate, I hope I am 
not like my supposed ancestor. You wiU let me 
doubt about him. 

Marchioness. I decline to stay here and listen 
to you. {Ske curtsies to Mr. Shaw, and goes ota 
loith an air of dignified superiority, by the inner 
door. The others move down towards the footlights.) 

Lady Wells. {In a low voice of warning 
There ! If you are not careful she may report you 
to the Medical Board. 

Blatchford. {Alarmed) I hope you don't 
mean that ! 

Keir-Hardie. {Scornfully) And this is the era 
of Uberty ! This is the result of tyrannizing over 
the miserable Comrades ; we no longer dare to 
speak freely even among ourselves. Your 
Medical Board is simply an anonymous despotism 
whose spies are our real masters. In the name of 
progress we have exchanged the priest for the 
physician ; and he has become a thousand times 
more dangerous. 

Lady Wells. It is very wrong to talk like 

Keir-Hardie. Why ? Don't we carry our 
lives at the mercy of the Municipal Physician ? 
Aren't we liable to be arrested at any moment — 
I beg your pardon, I ought to have said invalided 
— on suspicion of the most trifling complaint ? 
What is the difference between the Socialist 
hospitals and the Capitalist prisons, except that 
we can be sent to them without the form of trial 
by any unscrupulous physician ? 

Lady Wells. For shame ! The physicians are 


I wise am 



wise and noble men. I don't believe that they are 
capable of doing anything wrong. 

Keir-Hardie. Of course not ! It is the blind 
faith of you women that gives them their power, 
and enables them to put every honest man out of 
the way by means of some trumped-up charge. 
Do you know that even I, though my pulse is firm, 
and my eye is clear, and only last week I carried 
off the middle-weight Tango belt — I heard only 
yesterday that I was suspected of the mumps ! 
And you ask me to grovel to the fiend who is 
responsible for it all. ( He waves a hand towards 
Mr. Shaw, who starts in his sleep, visibly to the 
audience, but unperceived by the Fabians, who are 
looking another way.) 

Blatchford. My dear fellow, if you don't 
know on which side your own bread is buttered, 
you will run the risk of being treated as mentally 
deficient. Humanity wants idols to worship, and 
these are as good as any others. 

Keir-Hardie. I am not thinking of them, but 
of ourselves. They may have been sincere 
enough, but what is the net result of their work I 
Instead of reckoningin pounds, shillings and pence, 
we pretend to reckon In hours of labour ; instead 
of you and me being called peers we are called 
Fabians ; and instead of the people being called 
slaves they are called comrades. When I think 
of the great Keir-Hardie giving his life to over- 
throw the hereditary principle, I am ashamed to 
think that I am drawing a million a year just 
because I am supposed to be related to him. 


Lady Wells. You can always give your mil- 
lion away. 

Keir-Hardie. And what would that be i 
Charity ! — the very thing that we boast of having 
abolished. It is not money the poor creatures 
want> but liberty to call their souls their own. I 
cannot bear the sight of them. 

Lady Wells. I think you take a morbid view. 
(Keir-Hardie starts in alarm,) No, no, I don't 
mean morbid in a medical sense. I meant that 
you had nothing to reproach yourself with. 

Keir-Hakdie. You see for yourself what a 
reign of terror we are living under. I am ex- 
pecting every day to hear that Lady Wells has 
been invalided. 

Lady Wells. How dare you ! What charge 
can the Medical Board bring against me i 

Keir-Hardie. Sorcery. 

Blatchford. Ridiculous ! You ought to be 
ashamed of believing in such nonsense. 

Keir-Hardie. It is not a question of my belief, 
buthers.{ToLADYWELLs.) Please don't thinkthat 
I am going to play the traitor : I am warning you 
for your own sake. It is believed that you secretly 
practise the art of telepathy. I have heard it 
whispered that you have in your possession a 
treatise on palmistry. And you are suspected of 
seeking for forbidden knowledge in order to break 
the spell that binds the tyrant in his unhallowed 

Lady Wells. Ah, if only the Master could be 
awakened, all the trouble would be at an end. 

Keir-Hardie. I tell you it would be ten times 


worse. It is the abject superstition that centres 
around him that stands in the way of every 
reform. The next revolution will have to begin 
by blowing up that impostor. (Mr. Shaw starts 
more violently than before.) 

Lady Wells. I wish he would awaken, if it 
were only for twenty-four hours, to give you the lie. 

Kejb-Hasdie. Hush ! ( He looks round ner- 
vously 01 Mr. Shaw.) If you go on wishing like that 
he may wake. How do I know that you are not 
emitting telepathic waves at this moment 7 

Blatchford, Don't be an ass. You pretend 
to warn Lady Wells about her harmless fancies, 
but you forget the danger you are in yourself. 
I hear that you have founded an Anti-Shavian 
League. (Keis-Hasdie hangs his head.) 

Lady Wells. Has he ! {To Keir-Hardie.) 
If I thought that you really were going to blow 
up the Master I would report you to the Municipal 
Physician ! 

Keir-Hardie. Enough ! And this is the 
woman to whom I was once married for a whole 

Keir-Hardie goes out by the outer 
door, which he slams behind him. 

Blatchford. You need not be so distressed. 
You are concerning yourseU about a mythical 

Lady Wells. Whom do you mean ? 

Blatchford. (PoiMtr^oMR.SHAw.) This thing. 
I can prove to you that no such being as Bernard 
Shaw ever existed. 

by Google 


Lady Wells. But how ? — Why ? — I don't 
understand you. He was the founder of our own 

Blatchford. Not at all. The Fabian Order 
was founded by Fabius. I have found out all 
about him in a Chinese history of Europe, written 
in the twenty-first century. He was a military 
commander in the African war, and earned the 
nickname of Cunctator on account of his slow 
movements, through which he failed to catch 
the enemy. 

Lady Wells. I don't believe it. But even if 
it were true, it would make no difference. You 
cannot deny the existence of Bernard Shaw, the 
author of the plays. 

Blatchford. That is exactly how the myth 
arose. I have gone through the surviving frag- 
ments of the plays carefully with a microscope, 
and I am satisfied that they were written by a 
philosopher who was also a lawyer. There was 
only one such man alive at that period, the Lord 
Chancellor Haldane. Bernard Shaw is simply his 

Lady Wells. But this is dreadful ! Why 
should Lord Haldane have concealed his author- 
ship ? 

Blatchford. Because the English of that day 
looked on wit and humour as signs of folly. To 
succeed in life everyone had to pretend to be dull. 

Lady Wells. All this is sheer extravagance. 
How do you account for that ? {Points to the 
group of St. George and the Dragon.) 

Blatchford. Ah, that is the key to the whole 


confusion. Do you know whom that really 
represents i 

Lady Wells. Of course I do: Saint George 
Bernard Shaw. 

Blatchford. No, it represents an old English 
king, George the Third. I have just discovered 
this medal on the site of the old Mint. {Shows her 
a five-shilling piece.) It was evidently struck to 
commemorate the battle of Waterloo. The 
Dragon represents the famous Napoleon Bona- 
parte, whom the king slew with his own hand. 

Lady Wells. Impossible ! I can't bear it ! 
But stop — ^what are you talking about f There 
is Bernard Shaw himself, asleep but still alive. 
What do you call him I 

Blatchford. a waxwork, I am afraid. 

Lady Wells. Oh, don't ! You are breaking 
my heart. Why I can see him breathe. 

Blatchford. By machinery. A very simple 
contrivance would do all that. 

Lady Wells. I hardly know whether I am 
awake myself. Do you really mean that that 
is only a dummy ? Who made it ? 

Blatchford. Probably it was made by the 
Fabian Order at some time in the past, in order to 
secure their own power. It is our position as 
guardians of the sleeping hero that gives us our 
hold over the Comrades. 

Lady Wells. But it could not go on like that 
for ever. Who winds it up ? 

Blatchford. The Marchioness, I suspect. 
You know how angry she always gets if any doubt 
is thrown on the legend. I believe the secret is 

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handed down from one Lady Superior to another. 
You may have to wind it up some day. 

Lady Wells. How I wish you had never told 
me ! You have destroyed my romance, and made 
my life a dull, grey thing. 

Blatchford. You forced me to speak when 
you rejected me on account of that absurd 
dummy. You told me you had consecrated your 
maiden heart to him. 

Lady Wells. And I say so still. In my whole 
life I have only married twelve men, and now I 
shall never love again. 

Blatchford. You refuse me for a myth f 

Lady Wells. I do. 

Blatchford. You won't be mine for one 
week ? 

Lady Wells. Not for one day. 

Blatchford. Then I shall apply for you to the 
Connubial Board. 

Lady Wells. Coward ! Ah, if only he could 
hear ! [Sks moves towards the dais.) 

Blatchford. {Following) You are like a Uttle 
girl with a doll. 

Lady Wells. My hero lies there. You have 
broken my heart, but you cannot shatter my ideal 
( Approaches the couch.) 

Blatchford. What are you doing ? You 
mustn't touch the figure. 

Lady Wells. I am bidding my dream fare- 
well. { Kisses 'i&.'n., Shaw.) 

He opens his eyes. She recoils with a 


Mr. Shaw. — ^the wholesome and natural use 
of a pure vegetarian diet, instead of continuing 
to indulge in the barbarous and pernicious 
practice of devouring the bleeding carcases of 
cows and sheep. (As he speaks ke rises into a 
sitting posture and looks round.) 

The Qock strikes Twelve. 

Blatchford. ( As Lady Wells staggers back 
into his arms) She has done the trick ! 

Mr. Shaw. Am I awake or asleep I 

Lady Wells. Awake at last, after two hun- 
dred years. 

Blatchford. Whatanopportunityforscience! 

Mr. Shaw. Please tell me which of us is out of 
his mind. 

Blatchford. Neither, though it is as difficult 
for us to realize it, as for you. It seems to be the 
fact that you have been asleep ever since the 

Mr. Shaw. What revolution ? And what is 
this nonsense about two hundred years ? 

Blatchford. Iwillexplain. (T'o Lady Wells) 
But go and send for a cinematophonograph. This 
is too precious to be lost. 

Lady Wells. No, let me tell him. You go, 
and (etch the Superior. She ought to know at 

Blatchford. I cannot leave my post. You 
don't grasp the importance of recording his first 

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Lady Wells. I won't leave you alone with my 
dear Master after your wicked Ues. 

Blatchford. They were scientific conclusions 
reached by the usual methods of Comparative 

Mr. Shaw. What are you both talking about ? 

Lady Wells. He said that you were a mytho- 
logical personage. 

Mr. Shaw. Just at present I feel inclined to 
agree with him. Whom do you take me for f 

Lady Wells. {With enthusiasm) Saint George, 
the slayer of the Dragon ! 

Mr. Shaw. { Alarmed) I was afraid it was some- 
thing of that sort. {Soothingly) Yes, I daresay 
you are right, but hadn't one of you better call an 
attendant. I should like to see the superinten- 
dent as soon as possible. 

Lady Wells. You shall. {To Lord Blatch- 
ford) Why don't you go and fetch her ? 

Blatchford. Don't you see what you have 
done already ? You have made the Master think 
he is in a lunatic asylum. 

Mr. Shaw. {Nervously) Not at all; No such 
thought crossed my mind, I assure you. 

Blatchford. I am Professor of Comparative 
Mythology in the University of Wapping. 

Mr. Shaw. {Soothingly) I am sure of it. If 
you had said Oxford, I should have believed you. 

Lady Wells. Where is Oxford ? 

Blatchford. Hush ! There may have been 
such a place in his time. 

Mr. Shaw. Excuse me, sir, but do you both 
think I have been asleep for two hundred years ? 


Lady Wells. I do, but he doesn't. He said 
you were a waxwork. 

Mr. Shaw. (Starts — to Blatchford) Then I 
think I would rather you went to call the — 
the authorities of this institution, whatever its 
nattye may be. I am sure I shall be quite safe 
with this yoimg lady. 

Lady Wells. Dear Master, I would die for 
you ! 

Mr. Shaw. (Hurriedly) At least, no, on second 
thoughts perhaps you had better both go. 

Blatchford. Perhaps one of the Comrades is 
about. {Goes to the inner door, opens it, and calls.) 
Comrade ! 

Enter F.B.O. 109. 

Mr. Shaw. What, is this a prison ? 

Blatchford. Go and ask the Lady Superior 
to come at once ; and telephone for a cinema- 
tophonograph. The Master has awakened. 

F.B.O. Yes, your Excellency. {Goes out.) 

Lady Wells. Don't you really bdieve us ? 
This is the Shaw Memorial Hall, built on purpose 
to shelter you during your long hypnotic slumber. 

Mr. Shaw. This comes of reading Looking 
Backward. But how did I get here ? 

Blatchford. Here is the Lady Superior. 
(Enter the Marchioness of Holloway.) 

Marchioness. {In the doorway) Has some one 
gone out of his mind ? 

Mr. Shaw. I am afraid I have. 

Marchioness. The Master! {Rushes totoards 
him, and kneels.) 

Blatchford. Now, sir, perhaps I may be able 

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to explain. You fell asleep in the act of delivering 
a speech in favour of vegetarianism 

Mr. Shaw. I remember ! 

Blatchford. It is believed you were secretly 
hypnotized. The Socialist revolution followed, 
the Capitalist regime was overthrown by your 
followers, and you have lain here ever since, 
watched over by their descendants. 

Mr. Shaw. It really begins to sound almost 

Marchioness. (Rising) I can hardly believe 
my own ears yet. Speak to me. 

Mr. Shaw. {Puts his hand to his head.) I am 
trying to think. How long did you say I had 
been asleep ? 

Marchioness. Just two hundred years. 

Mr. Shaw. Two hundred years ! And I am in 
another world ? 

Lady Wells. A world made brighter and 
better by the triumph of your teaching. 

Marchioness. It looks as if the spell had run 

Lady Wells. No, it wasn't that. (Proudly) 
I wakened him. 

Mr. Shaw. Would to God you had let me sleep 
on ! (Bows his face in his hands.) 

7he outer door opens, and three Com- 
rades enter bringing in a machine roughly 
resembling a mechanical piano, with 
phonograph receiver attached. The Mar- 
chioness enjoins quiet by a gesture. They 
fix the machine near the door, under which 


they lay wires. While this is being done, 
ike Fabians draw together on the other side 
of the stage, and speak in low voices. 

Blatchford. We must be extremely careful 
with him at first. It is like a blind man receiving 
his sight for the first time. 

Marchioness. How did you wake him i 
(Lady Wells hangs her head.) 

Blatchford. In the same way as the Sleeping 
Beauty in the Wood. 

Marchioness. {With indignation) Lady Wells ! 

Laby Wells. But Lord Blatchford had just 
proved to me that the Master was a waxwork. I 
suppose it was an instinctive test. 

Marchioness. I think, as head of the Fabian 

Order, the test ought to have been applied by me. 

The Comrades go out, closing the door. 

Blatchford. Now we shan't lose a word or a 
gesture. {Points to the machine.) 

Mr. Shaw. {Raises his head) This is more 
awful than death. ( The Fabians go towards htm.) 

Marchioness. I understand your feelings, 
dear Master, but we will try to console you for the 
friends you have lost. 

Mr. Shaw. ( He tries to stand up, but sinks down 
again.) I feel very weak. 

Marchioness. Let me support you. (She 
gives him. her arm.) Bring the Master's couch this 
way. {She leads Mr. Shaw towards the footlights, 
the others following with the couch, which they place 
in front of the machine. Mr. Shaw seats himself. 
The Marchioness sits beside him. Lady Wells 

by Google 


have one in an hour and a half, as soon as the 
municipal supply is turned on. 

Mr. Shaw. Good Heavens, do you mean to 
tell me I can't have a drink of water i 

Blatchford. The habit of water-drinking be- 
tween meals has been pronounced by modem 
medical science so dangerous that the supply is 
only turned on three times a day, and there are 
severe penalties for secretly bottling it. I daresay 
these regulations seem a little strange to you at 
first, after the frightful anarchy under which you 

Mr. Shaw. Ah, yes, of course it was very bad 

in some ways ; but still Can I Have anything 

to eat ? 

Marchioness. The municipal meals are dis- 
tributed at the same time as the water. I must 
send in a requisition to the Culinary Department 
for an additional portion. 

Lady Wells. "Die Master shall have mine till 
it is granted. 

Mr. Shaw. It is very good of you ; but isn't 
there a municipal chemist you could send to, 
meanwhile. I am really not feeling weU. 

The Fabians. Hush — sh ! ( Tkey glance with 
alarm at the machine.) 

Marchioness. The Master is not yet fully 
awake. I am delighted to see that his long trance 
has not had the slightest ill effect. 

Lady Wells. You are looking the picture of 

Blatchford. The Master only meant that he 
was still a little sleepy. He will be delighted to 

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know that ill-health no longer exists in our happy 
country, thanks to the wisdom and benevolence 
of our enlightened Medical Board. (To Mr. 
Shaw.) If it is even fancied that any one is not 
in robust health, and the vigilant agents of the 
Board find it out, an ambulance is instantly sent 
for him, and he passes under the Board's pro- 
tecting care, frequently for the rest of his life. 

Mr. Shaw. It strikes me that your Medical 
Board is rather like the old Inquisition. 

Blatchford, I have never heard of that ; but 
no doubt even the hideous Capitalist ages had 
some benevolent institutions. 

Laby Wells. The Master ought to be told 
that if Black Maria 

Mr. Shaw. Do you mean the prison van ? 

Marchioness. No, no ! My dear Master, 
surely you understand that all those horrors have 
been swept away. There are no prisons in the 
Social Commonwealth. Black Maria is a name of 
endearment given to the ambulances of the 
Medical Board. 

Lady Wells, I was only going to warn you 
— I mean of course to encourage you with the 
knowledge — that if Black Maria once came for 
you, you would be taken the greatest possible 
care of, though we should not be likely to see you 

Mr. Shaw. It seems to me that I had better 
keep well. 

Marchioness. Much better. Perhaps it will 
be wiser for us to talk in Esperanto. Ni ciam 
parolas Esperante kiara ni ne volas, ke niaj 


kamaradoj komprenu, £ar antaQ ol lemi gin, ili 
devas trairi la nauan klason.^ 

Mr. Shaw. What on earth does that mean 7 

Lady Wells. The Master has forgotten his 
Esperanto ! 

Mr. Shaw. I never knew any. 

Blatchford. We don'twant to contradict you, 
of course ; only to refresh your memory. It is 
natural that you should not remember everything 
at first. 

Mr. Shaw. But, my good man, I assure you I 
never learnt the language. 

Lady Wells. Master! You invented it ! 

Mr. Shaw. It strikes me that I am not the only 
inventor. Don't you think my biography may 
have got mixed up with some one else's ? 

Blatchford. Just what I have always held. 
The popular belief is that you were a playwright. 

Lady Wells. And so you were, weren't you ? 

Mr. Shaw. What do they believe I wrote ? 

Lady Wells. Man and Superman, The School 
for Scandal, and Charley's Aunt. 

Mr. Shaw. I am thankful they don't credit me 
with Hamlet. 

Marchioness. All the libraries were burned 
during the revolution, in accordance with your 
famous advice. But the titles of your principal 
works have been handed down by tradition. 

Blatchford. That burnt file of your organ, 
the Daily Mail, is our only reUable source of 

* Wc olwafi use Eaperanto when we Aa not want to be uodentood 
hy the Comrades. Thcj are not allowed to learn it unleii they have 
p>Med the Ninth Standard. 

by Google 


information as to your period. And the horrors 
it reveals are so fearful that no one is allowed to 
read it unless he has passed the Ninth Standard. 

Lady Wells. Ah, and now the Master will be 
able to give us the right answer. What did Beryl 

Mr. Shaw. Do you mean Christabel ? 

Lady Wells. Oh, don't say that you have 
forgotten Beryl Robinson ! The most famous 
heroine of the Twentieth Century, the typewriter 
girl who was kidnapped and carried off in a motor 
by a wicked millionaire, and offered the choice 
between losing her situation or diamonds and 
shame ! The report of the crime runs through 
half the file, and breaks off on the last page that 
has not been burnt, with the words — " To be 

Mr. Shaw. Itis the serial ! 

Marchioness. It is generally agreed by his- 
torians that this celebrated outrage was the last 
straw that drove the masses to revolt. But there 
has always been a controversy as to the choice 
made by the heroine. 

Lady Wells. Now you must remember. fFkat 
did Beryl do ? 

Mr. Shaw. Strange as it may seem to you, I 
never heard of Beryl to this moment, and yet I 
can answer your question with perfect confidence. 
She threw up her situation, and was rewarded by 
marrying a baronet. 

Lady Wells. Oh, I am so glad ! 

Marchioness. A highly satisfactory solution. 

Mr. Shaw. Was I the editor of the Daily Mail ? 


Blatchford. Of course not. I am descended 
from the editor of the Daily Mail. My name is 

Lady Wells. And mine is Wells. 

Marchioness. I am the Marchioness of Hol- 
loway. My ancestress is there. (She points to the 

Mr. Shaw. {He looks round at the statuary.) 
Hullo ! Thank God, it is a nightmare after all. 

Lady Wells. Master ! 

Mr. Shaw. I apologize, if it isn't. But I still 
feel some doubt whether I am awake or asleep. 
What is that extraordinary collection meant for ? 

Blatchford. I always had my doubts of the 

Marchioness. Don't you recognize the great- 
est of your contemporaries ? You must have sat 
beside that noble woman on a hundred platforms. 
Look again. 

Mr. Shaw. Well, you may be right, but I feel 
confident that I never saw her quite so decoUetSe as 

Blatchford. You must give the Master time. 
I warned you that his memory would only come 
back by degrees. 

Marchioness. It will be a great disappoint- 
ment if he has forgotten everything. I hoped 
you would have been able to tell us about the 
horrors of the Twentieth Century. 

Mr. Shaw. Ah well, we had some good times. 

Marchioness. The crimes committed in the 
pubhc streets, the strife between Capital and 

by Google 


Labour, the international wars and bloodshed, — 
( A distant gunshot is heard to the right.) 

Mr. Shaw. (Startled) What is that ? 

Marchioness. (Carelessly) Only the Comrades. 
I fancy there is some little difference between the 
tailors and sempstresses. 

Mr. Shaw. Do you mean to say that they are 
fighting in the streets f 

Marchioness. Of course not. You must be 
thinking of the bad old days. This is the age of 
universal peace. ( Another shot, nearer.) 

Mr. Shaw. Then what is that firing. 

Marchiones3. I expect it is the tailors' 
pickets operating against the sempstresses. 

Mr. Shaw. Do you mean shooting them f 

Marchioness. They are entitled to do that — 
when there is a trade dispute. 

Blatchford. It is a question of the hours of 
labour. By law there is a four hours day for 
everybody, but as some kinds of work are Hghter 
than others, the sempstresses' hour only counts 
as a quarter. 

Mr. Shaw. Then they actually work sixteen 
hours a day ? 

Blatchford. That is what it comes to, natu- 

Mr. Shaw. And the tailors ? 

Blatchford. Their work is more responsible. 
They have to sign requisitions for cloth from the 
municipal stores, and give receipts for the finished 
garments. The sempstresses merely do the actual 
making of the clothes. 

Mr. Shaw. And how long do the tailors work ? 


Blatcrforb. Ihavejust told you. Fourhours. 

Mr. Shaw. And have these women no redress i 

Blatchford. Certainly. (J sharp fusillade.) 
Don't you hear them i 

Mr. Shaw. The women are defending them- 
selves from the men with firearms 1 

Marchioness. No, no. The women are assert- 
ing their right to work, and the men are resisting 

Mr. Shaw. And have you no laws to stop this 
kind of thing ? No poUce ? 

Lady Wells. PoUce! Master, you cannot know 
what you are saying. The police were abolished 
in the first year of freedom and brotherhood. 

Marchioness. Let me explain. The women 
have a standing majority in Parliament, and of 
course the law is in their favour. But the trades 
unions are exempt from the law. I thought that 
was due to your teaching. 

Mr. Shaw. X am trying to remember what I 
did teach. 

Marchioness. ParUament passed an Act last 
week to raise the tailors' hours to sixteen and 
reduce the sempstresses' to four. Thereupon the 
tailors went on strike, and picketed the municipal 
clothing stores ; and I expect the sempstresses 
have been trying to rush the pickets. 

Firing is heard just outside, followed by 
a scream. The outer door is burst open, 
and a female Comrade of sixteen, bleeding 
in the face, staggers through, and falls 
inside the threshold. 

by Google 


Mr. Shaw, {Springing to his feet) And these 
horrors take place in my name ! 

Lady Wells. No, she has come here because 
your HaU is a sanctuary. 

Mr. Shaw. Thank God for that !— Why don't 
you helj) her t (Heis going towards the girt, when 
the Fabians hold him back^ 
Blatchford. Be careful ! 
Marchioness. The law forbids anyone without 
a First Aid Certificate to touch a woimded 
person. There is sure to be an ambulance in 

Lady Wells. Here it is. 

Three Nurses in a white uniform, 
with the Geneva Cross in red on the front 
and back, two of them carrying a stretcher, 
come in and carry off the wounded girl, 
closing the door behind them. 

Mr. Shaw. Does this sort of thing happen 
often ? 

Marchioness. There is generally some trade 
dispute going on. But I don't think this one is 
likely to be serious. (Some dropping shots in the 
distance.) I expect the men have succeeded by 
this time. 

Mr. Shaw. But is there no attempt to settle 
these murderous frays by arbitration i 

Lady Wells. Please don't speak hke that. It 
wiU be resented. 

Marchioness. We must make allowance for 
the fact that the Master was accustomed to speak 
otrongly about the evils of the Capitalist regime. 

by Google 



In our happier age such language is not permitted, 
I am glacl to say. Everyone is contented. 

Blatchford. Arbitration has been found use- 
less in trade disputes, now that wages have been 
abolished. It is a question of whose work is 
hardest, and of course that can only be tested by 
active resistance. If I am wiUing to work rather 
than resist, that shows that I am contented with 
my lot. 

Mr. Shaw. And if you refuse to do any work 

Blatchfokd. That proves me to be an invalid, 
and I come under the Medical Board. 

Mr. Shaw. I begin to respect theMedical Board. 

Marchioness. I was sure the Master would 
approve of our institutions as soon as they were 
properly explained to him. 

Mr. Shaw. But how is it that every one doesn't 
choose the work that really is lightest ? 

Marchioness. Choose f But of course there 
was a certain choice in the dreadful days of 
Individualism and competition. 

Blatchford. Nowadays every man is given 
the work for which he is deemed fittest by the 
Labour Department. The higher appointments 
are still awarded as in your time, by open com- 

A knock at the outer door. A Guard- 
ian of the Peace comes in weanng the 
dress of a Twentieth Century policeman^ 
except that his feet are in sandals. 

Guardian. May it please you Excellencies, 


Her Highness the Permanent Prime Miniatress 
sends her congratulations to the Master, and will 
call on him immediately. {Goes out.) 

Mr. Shaw. Who is that i I thought you said 
the poUce were abolished. 

Marchioness. That is only one of the Guard- 
ians of the Peace. They are necessary to clear 
the streets for us when mere is a dispute among 
the Comrades. 

Mr. Shaw, Then you are not Comrades ? 

BAarchioness. Sir ! 

Lady Wells. We are Fabians — ^the only sur- 
vivors of the Order. 

Blatchford. We are the hereditary Friends 
of the People, who have replaced the luxurious 
aristocracy of the past. 

Mr. Shaw. You seem to fill their place very 
well. And who is Her Highness i 

Marchioness. Her official designation is Per- 
manent Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. 
Under the new regime the Prime Minister is 
changed every day, to avoid jealousy, so that the 
power has natursjly fallen into the hands of her 
permanent adviser, who obtains the post by open 

Lady Wells. The present Prime Ministress 
is the most distinguished woman who has ever 
held the office. In her examination she obtained 
992,000 marks out of a possible million. 

Mr. Shaw. I should have thought her brain 
would have given way. 

Lady Wells. WeU, she has not been strong 
enough to do any work since. Her duties are 

by Google 



discharged meanwhile by her Permanent Lady's 

Mr. Shaw. And how many marks did she get ? 

Marchioness. She is only a Comrade. The 
Labour Department nominated her. 

Blatchford. We ought to be frank with the 
Master. The appointment was a job. She wa3 
the wife of the Permanent Hall Porter. 

A knock. Tke Guardian of the Peace 
opens the outer door, admitting the Prime 
MiNisTREss and Permanent Lady's 
Maid. The Prime Ministress is dressed 
in a black riding habit and tall hat, and 
wears spectacles. The Lady's Maid is 
in the ordinary dress of a Comrade. The 
Guardian of the Peace closes the door 
again, remaining outside. 

The Fabians rise, and exchange cere- 
monious bows with ^Af Prime Ministress. 

Marchioness. {To Mr. Shaw) This is her 
Highness. (To Blatchford) WiU you send 
for a chair. {Lord Blatchpord goes through the 
inner door.) 

Lady's Maid. {She addresses the Prime Minis- 
tress in the tone of a nurse to a child.) Shake hands 
with the gentleman. 

Prime Ministress. {Doing so) I am very 
pleased to meet you, sir. 

Mr. Shaw. {Rising for a moment) I am afraid 
I am a little late. ( He offers his hand to the Lady's 
Maid, who kneels and kisses it respectfully. He 


snatches it away.) What are you doing, woman ? 
Get up. 

Lady's Maid. ( Annoyed) I hope I know my 
place, sir. (Rises. Lord BtATCHFORD returns 
with a chair which the Lady' s Maid takes from him, 
and sets facing Me. Shaw. She leads her mistress 
to it, and seats her, the Lady's Maid standing re- 
spectfully on one side. The others resume their 
former attitudes.) 

Prime Ministress. It is a fine day. 

Mr. Shaw. I suppose that is by order of the 
Weather Department, 

Lady's Maid. Hei Highness has notified the 
Viceroy of your awakening, sir. 

Mr. Shaw. Another official ! What viceroy ? 

Lady's Maid. {Surprised) The Viceroy of 

Marchioness. The Master has not yet learnt 
all the changes that have taken place since his 
time. {To Mr. Shaw) Surely you were an ad- 
vocate of universal suffrage f 

Mr. Shaw. Of course. 

Marchioness. And of Imperial Federation ? 

Mr. Shaw. I was in favour of the Federation 
of Mankind. 

Marchioness. We have not quite got to that, 
though we hope it is coming. At present we 
merely pay a tribute to Germany. In the mean- 
while the British Empire has been federated on 
democratic lines. Of course the Imperial Par- 
liament meets at Delhi. 

Mr. Shaw. I don't remember advocating that. 



Marchioness. But surely you must have fore- 
seen it i 

Blatchford. Perhaps the population of India 
was smaller than that of England in your time. 
To-day it is over three hundred millions. 

Mr. Shaw. What about the Colonies ? 

Blatchford. England is ten millions at 
present. It varies with the eugenic poHcy of the 
Government. Ireland is fifteen millions, thanks to 
her reactionary marriage laws. 

Mr. Shaw. But Canada, South Africa, Aus- 
tralia — what of them f 

Blatchford. Canada is no longer in the 
Empire. She rebelled against the Socialist 
regime, and has since annexed the United States. 

Marchioness. The population of Australia is 
unknown, as the Aboriginal Government objects 
to a census. It is estimated at half a miUion. 

Mr. Shaw. And South Africa ? I suppose the 
Boers have got that E 

Marchioness. Boers ? 

Lady Wells. Who were the Boers ? 

Blatchford. Perhaps they were a tribe that 
has since changed its name. The leading tribes 
now are the Zulus and Matabele. 

Mr. Shaw. But what has become of the 
Whites? {7 he Fabians exchange confused glances.) 
Does nobody know ? 

Lady's Maid. It is against the law to refer to 
it, sir. 

Mr. Shaw. Why ? 

Marchioness. Lest it should tend to discredit 
your teaching in the minds of the ignorant and 



prejudiced. As soon as the Blacks received the 
franchise and found themselves in a great 
majority, they restored cannibalism. 

Mr. Shaw. Oh ! 

Marchioness. It is a sad chapter in the history 
of human brotherhood, of which no Socialist likes 
to be reminded. 

Mr. Shaw. I can understand that. 

Lady Wells. So you see the Viceroy repre- 
sents the Imperial Government of India. 

Mr. Shaw. And is the Viceroy a native f 

Lady's Maid. No, sir. His Vice-Majesty is a 
Hindu — Maharajah Sri Singh Mahindar Adhiraj 
Ranjisinghji Badadur. 

Mr. Shaw. {Starts up and sinks back again.) 
And do you mean that the people of England 
submit to be ruled by him f { The others exchange 
looks of alarm.) 

Marchioness. We are disappointed to hear 
such language from you, my dear Master. It 
sounds as if you had not quite shaken off the very 
prejudices fromwhichyoudid so much to deliver U3. 

Blatchford. His Vice-Majesty is a wise and 
merciful ruler, for whose care of us we are grate- 
ful. Besides, he very seldom interferes with the 
native government. Our true ruler sits there. 
(Indicates the Prime Ministress.) 

Lady's Maid. Say thank you to the gentleman. 

Prime Ministress. Thank you, sir. {To 
Lady's Maid) Shall I ask him to marry me now ? 

Lady's Maid. Yes, I think you may. 

Prime Ministress. {To Blatchford) If you 
please, will you marry me ? 


Lady's Maid. No, no, that's the wrong one. 
That is the gentleman you want to marry. {Indi- 
cates Mr. Shaw.) 

Marchioness. I ought to have been informed 
of this. 

Prime Ministkess. But I think I like this one 

Lady's Maid. {To the Marchioness) It is a 
State measure. (To f^ Prime Ministkess) You 
shall marry him afterwards. You must ask the 
Master first. 

Prime Ministkess. But he is so old ! 

Mr. Shaw. It is quite mmecessary to press 
this unfortunate young woman. I 

Marchioness. Stay i Before you come to any 
decision, I ask to be heard. As the descendant of 
Venus, and Lady Superior of the Fabian Order, 
I have the first claim to your hand. 

Lady Wells. {Rising) And what about me ? 
1 woke the Master with my kiss ! 

Mr. Shaw. Yes, I certainly think that confers 
a very strong claim. 

Marchioness. It was a stolen kiss. You 
usurped my prerogative. 

Lady Wells. {To Mr. Shaw) I vowed my 
maiden heart to you when you lay there en- 

Marchioness. And I watched over you for 
years before this girl was bom, with the devotion 
of a daughter. 

Mr. Shaw. That is an excellent idea. I will 
still be a father to you. 

Marchioness. I refuse. 

by Google 



Lady Wells. ( Kneds) If you reject me I shall 
appeal to the Connubial Board. 

Marchioness. {Kneels) I have more influence 
with the Connubial Board than she has. 

Mr. Shaw. Get up, ladies. We are not in a 

Marchioness. {Rises) Practically we are. 
{Points to the machine.) At this moment half the 
population is seated in the picture palaces 
watching us, and listening to every word. 

Mr. Shaw, Good Heavens ! (Lady Wells 
rises, -posing to the machine.) 

Blatchford. Surely you had picture palaces ? 
They are mentioned in the Daily Mail. 

Mr. Shaw. Yes, but they were not quite so 
well organized as yours seem to be. We relied for 
news on the papers. 

Blatchford. We have them, too. {Opens 
street door.) Listen ! 

Voice Outside. Speshulextry ! The Master 
Awike arter two underd years ! As fergotten 
everyfink ! Fibians tell im the Story of is Laife ! 

Mr. Shaw. For heaven's sake stop that thing 
at once ! {Indicates the machine. The Marchio- 
ness and the Permanent Lady's Maid luhis-per 

Blatchford. That is the second time you have 
used that curious word. What does it mean ? 

Mr. Shaw. Which word ? 

Blatchford. Heaven. 

Mr. Shaw. {Bitterly) That was what I tried 
to establish on earth. 

Marchioness. The Government objects to 


stopping the cinematophonograph. It would 
provoke a rebellion. 

Mr. Shaw. Do you prefer to drive me to 
rebellion ? 

Lady Wells. Oh, hush. {Lays her hand on 
his lips.) 

Lady's Maid. ( Hastily) Perhaps we had better 
stop it. 

Marchioness. Do. The Master has not quite 
come to himself. 

She looks at Lord Blatchford, toho 
goes to the inner door and opens it. Com- 
rades F.B.O. log and C.F.I. 22^0 are 
discovered listening. 

Blatchford. What are you doing there i 
Take away the register. 

The Comrades come in and pass by 
Mr. Shaw. 

Mr. Shaw. Who are these unfortunate beings I 

Marchioness. They are the Comrades who 
look after this Hall. 

Mr. Shaw. (Scornfully) Comrades ! Come 

here. (7o F.B.O.) What is your name f 

F.B.O. I ain't got none, Master. 

Marchioness. You will find his number and 
municipal district on his collar. 

Mr. Shaw. ( To F.B.O.) Take it off. 

F.B.O. {Laughs) It won't come off, Master. 

Marchioness. It is soldered on. 

Mr. Shaw. {With cold passion) And does the 
whole population go about with iron collars round 
their necks like galley-slaves ? 


Lady Wells. Only the Comrades — those who 
haven't passed the Ninth Standard. 

Mr. Shaw. { 7o F.B.O.) Go and fetch me a file 
this instant. 

Marchioness. My dear Master, yoa must 
really give yourself time to become accustomed 
to the logical results of your own glorious work. 

Mr. Shaw. I hope I shall never be accustomed 
to them. You call me Master — ^will nobody obey me ? 

Prime Ministress. (^Rises) Let me go. 

Lady's Maid. Hush ! Remember that you are 
the head of the Government. 

Lady Wells. I will go. {Goes through the 
inner door.) 

C.F.I. (To F. 5.0.) The poor gentleman thinks 
he's back in them bad old days when we was all 
wage slaves. 

Mr. Shaw. Why ! Are you a man or a 

woman f 

C.F.I. A woman, of course. Don't you see my 

Mr. Shaw. And have you no name, either ? 

CF.L No, Master; except leastways, in our 
Buildings they does call me the Duchess. And 
they calls im the Duke. 

Blatchford. It is curious that some of these 
old feudal titles are still remembered among the 
populace. This man is believed to be descended 
from — who is it ? 

F.B.O. The Duke of WelUngton. 

Blatchford. Yes. It is a myth, no doubt. 
His ancestor is supposed to have been a famous 
admiral in the reign of George the Seventh. 



Mr. Shaw. I agree with you for once ; that is 
a myth. ( To the Comrades) I see you are man 
and wife. 

Both. [Eagerly) No, sir. 

Marchioness. {Shakes her head.) They are 
naturally ashamed to confess it. The law does not 
permit of marriage for more than one year, but I 
am sorry to say that many of these ignorant 
creatures go on living together much longer. We 
sometimes wink at these irregular unions, but of 
course it doesn't do to mention them openly. 

Lady Wells returns with a file, which 
she gives to Mr. Shaw. He begins to file 
through C. F.I.'s collar. 

C.F.I. (Resisting) What are you doing to my 
necklace ? 

Mr. Shaw. {Drops the file.) Theyhaveforgotten 
what freedom was ! 

Lord Keir-Hardie comes in through 
the otaer door, in a state of excitement. 

Keir-Hardie. This is the last straw ! So you 
have awakened now, in order to gloat over the 
misery you have wrought. Just as your victims 
were beginning to stir themselves, and dream of 
restoring the good old days, you have come out of 
your accursed sleep to rivet the fetters more 
tightly round their necks. 

Mr. Shaw. Bravo! At last I have found a man. 
Give me your hand. 

Keir-Hardie. {Draws back) I will not take the 
hand of a tyrant. I will pretend to worship you 


no longer. I have called a meeting of the Anti- 
Shavian League for this very night, and I am 
going to urge them to revolt. (Turns towards 
the door. Everyone rises in dismay.) 

Mr. Shaw. (Going after him) Take me with 

Act Drop. 

Interval of tenor fifteen minutes according to the 
agreement with the refreshment contractor. 

by Google 

Stage Directions. 

7he scene is laid in the head-quarters of the Anti- 
Shavian League. This is an underground cellar, 
approached by one of the moving staircases which 
have long replaced the old-fashioned lifts. 

The staircase comes behind tall folding-doors in 
the centre of the back wall, and consists of two mov- 
able bands, working up and down. The bands are 
provided with slight foot-rests, like the gangways 
used by passenger steamers. The staircase works 
up and down past the threshold of the doorway, at so 
steep an angle that the persons who descend by it 
are usually precipitated with some violence through 
the folding doors. 

The doors are so constructed as to fly open at a 
touch, and remain open until closed by hand. 

On the back wall, to the right and left of the door- 
way, hang portraits of Queen Victoria, Napoleon 
Bonaparte, and other celebrated despots of antiquity. 

On the stage, to the right of the audience, is a 
small table covered by a cloth, on which are placed 
a book containing the collected fragments of the 
works attributed to Bernard Shaw by the best 
authorities, and a horn with a raucous note to be 
used for enforcing silence. 


Behind the table, bettaeen it and the right wall, is 
(jMechanical Chairman. Thisis a dummy figure, 
roughly resembling a Comrade, seated in a chair, 
and having a gramofhone attached. In the top of the 
head is a slot to receive pennies. 

On the far side of the table is a chair for the secre- 
tary, and on the near side another chair available 
for the person addressing the meeting, when he is 
compelled by interruption to sit down. 

On the opposite side of the stage are rows of 
benches facing the table. Behind the benches is a 
shelf supporting a beer barrel and pewter mugs. 

The cellar is lit by electricity. 

The curtain rises, and the audience are given time 
to take in these details. Then the folding doors fly 
open, and F.B.O. 109 is thrown forward on to the 
stage, falling on his hands and knees, Mr. Shaw 
and Lord Keir-Hardie are seen standing, one 
behind the other, on the descending band of the 
staircase, which stops with a jerk, leaving Mr. 
Shaw's feet about eighteen inches above the thresh- 
old, Keir-Hardie cannons into him from behind, 
and both just manage to save themselves from falling, 
by clutching ike handrail. 

Mr. Shaw is disguised in a long flowing cloak 
suggestive of the state robes of an Alderman of the 
London County Council, a slouched hat with a 
broad, drooping brim, and a black mask covering the 
upper part of the face. His hair and beard are 
trimmed to their customary length in the Twentieth 

F.B.O. (Picks himself up and goes towards the 



dooTway.) Old on, Master ! Let me elp you down. 

( 7ke staircase suddenly begins to work again, 
jerking Mr, ^nAwand Keir-Hardie on to F.B.O.) 
Steady ! ( They recover their balance.) There, 
you're all right now. 

Mr. Shaw. ( Unmasks) Is this the head- 
quarters of the Anti-Shavian League ? 

Keir-Hardie. {He addresses Mr. Shaw in a 
tone of unfriendly neutrality, and, as it were, under 
protest.) Yes. I advise you to put on your mask 
again before any of the Comrades come in. 
Remember, I have warned you that you come 
here at the risk of your Hfe. 

Mr. Shaw. It strikes me that every one does 
that, on this contrivance. (Points to the staircase, 
which is now moving gently.) It is worse than 
Earl's Court. I confess I prefer the old-fashioned 

Keir-Hardie, Stairs ? I suppose you mean 
what we call lifts. I believe there are a few still 
in use in the suburbs. 

Mr, Shaw. No, no ; I mean a staircase — some- 
thing like that, only not moving. They were what 
we had in private houses. 

Keir-Hardie. (Incredulous) But if the stair- 
case didn't move, I don't see how you got up F 

Mr. Shaw. By treading first on one step and 
then the other, Uke this. (Lifts his feet, and sets 
them- down again.) 

Keir-Hardie. (Shudders) But surely that must 
have been frightfully dangerous ? 

F.B.O. It mikes me fair giddy to think of it ! 
( 7ke staircase stops.) 


Keir-Hardie. Hullo ! It has stopped again. 
Is this how you mean ? ( He sets one foot on the 
ascending band, teken the staircase starts again zeitk 
a rusk, nearly upsetting him.) Whatever's the 
matter with it f I never knew it go wrong like 
that, before. 

F.B.O. It's the operators as is doing this on 
purpose, your lordsHp. They wants to ave their 
day reduced to three hours, same as the turn- 
cocks ; and as the Goverment won't give in to 
them, they're making theirselves as nasty as 
they can. ( He closes the doors.) 

Keir-Hardie. Selfish brutes ! Can't they see 
that the less they work the more somebody else 
has got to work, to make up ? 

F.B.O. Oh, yes, I'xpect they knows that well 
enough : but what they says is that it's a case 
of each one for isself, and devil take the indmost, 
in this ere blessed Commonwealth. {He begins 
dusting the table.) 

Keir-Hardie. {Bitterly, to Mr. Shaw) They 
seem to be merely trying to carry out your prin- 
ciples : " Only those who have helped themselves 
know how to help others." They have evidently 
begun by helping themselves. 
Mr. Shaw. Did I say that ? 
Keir-Hardie Yes ; it is in your Quintessence 
of Ibsenism. But perhaps that is one of the things 
that you are going to explain to the meeting. 

Mr. Shaw. You will hear what I have to say 
to the meeting, when it begins. 

Keir-Hardie. I am not so sure of that. The 


chances are that you will be howled down the 
moment you take off your mask. 

Mr. Shaw. Does that mean that you are going 
to give the signal ? 

Keir-Hardie. I shall do no more and no 
less than I promised. I have brought you here 
in safety, and I shall tell the meeting that I con- 
sider you are under my safe-conduct. But I 
don't guarantee you a hearing. It is not too late 
for you to go back to your worshippers, if you are 

Mr. Shaw. It is my worshippers whom I am 
most afraid of. They all seem to be under a vow 
to marry me. I left three of them on their way to 
the offices of the Connubial Board, 

Keir-Hardie. Every member of the Anti- 
Shavian League is under a vow to take your life. 

Mr, Shaw. Quite so : but I think on the whole 
this is better than the Connubial Board. 

F.B.O. I only opes for your sike, Master, that 
none of them there Romeos and Juliets wont do 
nuffink worse than go to the Connubial Board. 
It's the Medical Board what I'm afeared of. 

Mr. Shaw. Nonsense. What can they do ? 
There's nothing the matter with me. 

Keir-Haedie. What has that got to do with 
it ? Do you suppose, if the Government wanted 
to put you out of the way, they would have any 
difficulty in getting a medical certificate ? In 
your time were there no such people as Court 
Physicians ? And yet you say : " We Socialists 
have studied human nature." 

Mr. Shaw. No, Fm damned if I ever said that. 


Keir-Hardie. I am quoting from Merrie 

Mr. Shaw. I didn't write Merrie England. 
That was Blatchford. 

Keir-Hardie. I'm afraid your memory is 
rather treacherous. There is no doubt about the 
authorship. We have reduced textual criticism 
to an exact science, and all our best scholars are 
unanimous on the point. {Goes to the table.) I 
can show it to you in your collected Works. 

Mr. Shaw. {Follows him, and notices the 
dummy.) What on earth is that thing ? 

Keir-Hardie. {Surprised) Do you mean the 
Chairman i 

Mr. Shaw. Chairman ! That thing there ? 
Do you mean to tell me that you hold your 
meetings by machinery ; or is this a joke f 

Keir-Hardie. I am sorry that you should 
think any SociaUst capable of a joke. Besides, 
joking is forbidden by Act of Parliament, If 
you had ever been a sincere Socialist you would 
rejoice to see that it is no longer necessary to 
invest one man with authority over his fellows. 
Perfect equality is achieved by means of this 
mechanical chairman, who excites no jealousy. 

Mr. Shaw, I should have thought that a 
Socialist like you would have been jealous of even 
a gramophone. But how does the thing work ? 

F.B.O. Easy enough : all you as to do is to 
drop a penny in is ead to start im, and anuwer 
every time e runs down. 

Mr. Shaw, Penny ? I thought you told me 
that money had been aboUshed ? 


Keir-Hardie, So it has. A penny is not 
money. It is a round copper token which repre- 
sents five minutes' work by an able-bodied man, 
— the twelfth of an hour. The hour is repre- 
sented by a silver token called a shilling, and a 
week of twenty hours by a golden one, known as 
a pound. The Comrades receive these tokens in 
acknowledgement of their labour, and exchange 
them for rations and clothes from the municipal 
supply stores. 

Mr. Shaw. And you don't call that money f 
Show me a penny. {F.B.O. gives him one.) I 
don't see any difference between this and the 
coins of the Twentieth Century, except that it is 
worse made. 

Keir-Hardie. The difference is in the prin- 
ciple. That is a SociaUst penny, purified from the 
evil associations of Capitalism, and stamped with 
the Brotherhood of Man. 

Mr. Shaw. It is stamped with the head of 
some Asiatic potentate, I presume the Emperor of 
India. But let me see how it works. ( He drops 
it in the slot.) 

The Mechanical Chairman. ( j4ft£r a series of 
preliminary squeaking coughs) Order, order ! I 
call upon the Secretary to read the minutes of the 
last meeting. 

Mr. Shaw. Wonderful ! It is certainly an 
improvement on some of the chairmen I have had 
to endure. But can you contrive to make it 
always say the right thing at the right time ? 

Keir-Hardie. Well, that is the difficulty. 
However, we hope the invention will be improved 


in time. Anything is better than having to 
submit to the dictation of an individual. 

F.B.O. Perhaps the Master might like a drop 
of the Solution, before the meeting begins. 
{Leads the way to the barrel.) 

Mr. Shaw. {Following) What have you got 
there ? I thought alcoholic drinks had been 

Keir-Hardie. ( Following) Of course they 
have. Even the Solution is forbidden by the 
Medical Board, though it is a perfectly innocent 
beverage made from hops and barley. But the 
Comrades drink it a good deal on the sly. 

F.B.O. {He draws a mug of beer.) This aint 
no alcoolic drink, bless yer. You might give it 
to a babby. 

Mr. Shaw. It looks uncommonly like beer. 

Keir-Hardie. It may seem so to one who is 
not yet familiar with the beneficent results of 
temperance legislation. The taint of the Capi- 
talist Age seems to cling to you. 

F.B.O. {Blows off the froth, and hands the mug 
to Mr. Shaw.) We dont old with them there 
Capiterlist drinks nowadays. You taste that. 

Mr. Shaw. It smells just like beer. 

Keir-Hardie. I daresay it does, in your own 
evil imagination. To the pure all things are pure. 

Mr. Shaw. I hope you don't credit me with 
having said that. {Drinks.) It is beer ! 

Keir-Hardie. For shame ! 

The Mechanical CHAiRMA>f. Gentlemen, Is It 
your pleasure that I now sign these minutes ? 

F.B.O. Ush ! Ere they comes ! 


Mr. Shaw hastily replaces his mask. 
The doors are burst open, and as many 
Comrades as the benches will hold stream 
through on to the stage, stumbling and 
falling aver one another. 
The Mechanical Chairman. Order 1 1 call 
upon the mover ol the first resolution. 

A Comrade shuts the doors. Lord 

Keir-Hardie passes through the crowd, 

nodding and shaking hands, and seats 

himself in the secretary's chair. 

F.B.O. { To Mr. Shaw) You sit ere alongside o 

me. { They seat themselves on the hindmost bench, 

at the end next to the footlights. The Comrades 

spread themselves over the remaining seats, some of 

them staring inquisitively at Mr. Shaw.) 

Keir-Hardie. {Opens the book, and rises) As 
it is so late, I will open the meeting at once, in 
the usual way, by reading you two passages from 
the writings of our Arch-Adversary — who has at 
last awakened to see the results of his teaching. 
{Groans.) The first is from Merrie England^ 
which I have learned already that he actually 
denies having written. {Sham£ .') I am not 
surprised ! 

{ Reads.) " Practical Socialism would educate the 
people. It would provide cheap and pure food. 
( Oh, oh !) It would extend and elevate the means of 
study and amusement. { A laugh.) It would foster 
literature and science and art. ( Rot !) It would 
abolish sweating and jerry work. {It hasn^t !) 
It would demohsh the slums, and erect good and 


handsome dwellings. {Where are they f) It 
would compel all men to do some kind of useful 
work. (Except the Fabians !) It would protect 
women and children. (Hisses.) It would raise 
the standard of health and morality." (Laud 

The other passage is from Man and Superman 
— I don't know 

The Mechanical Chairman. Time ! 

Keir-Hardie. — I don't know whether he 
will deny having written that as well. 

(Reads.) "There are limits to what a muleoran 
ass will stand 

The Mechanical Chairman. 1 call upon the 
speaker to resume his seat. 

Keir-Hardie. ( Apologetically, to the dummy) 
One moment, sir. (Reads.) " — But Man will 
suffer himself to be degraded until his vileness 
becomes so loathsome to his oppressors that they 
themselves are forced to reform it." ( Hisses, and 
cries of Shame ! Keir-Hardie closes the book.) 
Gentlemen — for I will not insult you with the 
odious name of Comrades — those are the senti- 
ments of the man in whose name you are ground 
down by the most intolerable form of slavery the 
world has ever heard of. ( Applause.) We have 
met here to-night 

The Mechanical Chairman. Order, Order I 

Keir-Hardie. { Annoyed) I am in order. I 
say we have met here to-night in an hour of crisis. 
At the very moment we were preparing to rise 
against the whole odious system of what is 
falsely called Socialism, the kiss of a Jezebel 


The Mechanical Chairman. Does any one 
second that ? 

F.B.O. (Stands up) I will, if you like, your 

Keir-Hardie. Sit down, you fool ; I haven't 
finished. {F.B.O. obeys.) All this is your fault 
for starting it too soon. — ^What was I saying ? — 
The kiss of a Jezebel has called the Founder of 
the accursed system to hfe, in order to rivet the 
chain more firmly on your necks, (Hisses.) As 
your Secretary, the responsibility is cast upon me 
of advising you how to deal with the situation. 
But first of all I have a startling announcement to 
make to the meeting. Mr. Bernard Shaw (Groans), 
who has heard of the existence of this League, 
( Hear, hear !) has had — shall I say the audacity ? 
— to express a wish to enrol himself in our ranks 
{Oh, oh ! and laughter.) He has apphed to me for 
permission to come here and address you. 
( No, no .') I foresaw how you wotild be likely to 
receive that request. But on the other hand it 
struck me that by allowing him to come here we 
should secure a hostage for our own safety. 
(Interruption.) Order, there ! As your Secretary 
I have taken the responsibility upon myself of 
bringing him here — (Murmurs) — under my pro- 
tection. (Silence.) I call upon him to come 

Amid continuous murmurs of surprise 
Lord Keir-Hardie sits down. Mr. 
Shaw comes forward and stands in front 
of the empty chair. As he takes off his 
hat and mask and faces the meeting, the 


murmuring dies away in silent stupe- 
The Mechanical Chairman. Gentlcmea, you 
have heard the resolution proposed and seconded : 
those who are In favour will say " Aye " — ( jf 
silent ^fliwe)— contrary, "No"--{^ loud and 
unanimous shout of No !) — the Ayes have it t 
I declare the resolution carried. 

The gramophone runs down in a 
prolonged shrill squeak, drowned by an 
outburst of angry Noes, the Comrades 
all standing up and shaking their fists 
at Ma. Shaw. He looks round smiling. 
Keir-Hakdie raises his hands to still 
the tumult, and at last blows the horn. 
At len^h the Comrades resume their seats, 
and the noise dies atoay. 
Mr. Shaw. Comrades! {Renewed clamour.) 
Keir-Hardie. {Blows the horn.) Order, order ! 
Mr. Shaw. Comrades ! {Interruption.) 
Keir-Hardie. {He stands up while speaking.) 
We feel that name to be as an insidt. We prefer 
to be addressed as gentlemen. ( Applause.) 

Mr. Shaw. I stand here as Comrade A. i. {He 
throws off his robes, revealing that he is in the dress 
of a Comrade. Tlure is a general gasp of astonish- 
ment, followed by perfect silence.) Fellow Com- 
rades ! ( He pauses and looks round. No one dares 
to interrupt.) I have come here to denounce an 
impostor. {Oh, oh ! ) One who has been lying to 

you for more years than I care to think 

Voices. Wio ? Name ! 

by Google 



Mr. Shaw. Who has masqueraded as your 
deliverer from Capitalism, but who has only 
plunged you into a still worse slavery. 

Voices. {Angrily) Who ? Who ? Name ? 

Mr, Shaw. Who has been a traitor to Human- 
ity, under the cloak of friendship. (Continuous 
interruption, the cry of " Name " emerging above 
the general clamour.) His name is Bernard Shaw. 
(Sudden silence, followed, as the surprise wears off, 
by a faint attempt at ironical applause here and 

Keir-Hardie. (Rising) I don't know if this 
is a bad joke 

Mr. Shaw. Keep your seat, sir. (Keir-Hardie 
obeys.) Your Secretary thinks I am a humorist. 
(^ mocking laugh.) That is one of the false 
pretences I have come here to expose. I have no 
sense of humour. I am simply a mischievous 
crank. (Impatient murmurs.) 

Keir-Hardie, Keep to the question, {-^p- 

Mr. Shaw. I am the question. This is a 
meeting of the Anti-Shavian League. (Loud 
applause.) I am glad that you agree with me at 

A Voice. We don't, 

Mr. Shaw. What don't you agree with ? 
Aren't you an Anti-Shavian ? 

Keir-Hardie. Are you ? 

Mr. Shaw. Why don't you listen ? (Loud 
interruption. Keir-Hardie blows his horn in 
vain. Mr. Shaw raises his voice in a momentary 
lull.) Are you afraid to hear me ? (Dead silence.) 



I blame myBelf, not you. I am responsible for the 
frightful system which has robbed you of your 
manhood, and made you strangers to such a thing 
as free speech. (Groans.) You may well groan at 
me. The question is how are you to get rid of 
me i 

Keir-Hardie. Speak seriously^please. 

Mr. Shaw. ( To the meeting.) Tms is the first 
time I ever have spoken seriously. I have never 
been awake till now. I have been nothing but a 
dreamer — and you are my dream. I am ex- 
tremely sorry that you have come true. I wish 
you were only a nightmare. (Hisses.) Those 
hisses warn me that you are real. 

Keir-Hardie. I protest against this. (Hear, 
hear ! ) 

Mr. Shaw. So do I. That is just what I am 
trying to do, if you will only let me. I protest 
against myself. I consider that I am a public 
nuisance. (Enthusiastic applause.) I am glad to 
hear those cheers. Tliat is a good beginning. 
But you don't know the worst of me yet. You 
think I am a Socialist. That is another false 
pretence. In reality I am a great Individualist — 
the greatest who has ever lived, in my opinion. 
I am the apostle of self-assertion. It was my un- 
controllable vanity that made me a rebel against 
the Capitalist Age. It had its faults, I admit, but 
it was a paradise compared with this. ( Applause.) 

Keir-Hardie. Then why did you preach 
Socialism 7 

Mr. Shaw. Because I didn't know any better. 
I have just told you that I was a crank. All truly 

by Google 


great men are cranks. That is how they achieve 
their objects, by shutting their eyes to facts, and 
their ears to reason. That is what I did, I 
believed that men were right-angled triangles. I 
thought an Act of Parliament could repeal the 
history of the human race. I thought that if 
children could be stolen from their mothers, and 
herded in prisons under warders who had never 
had a child, they would grow up perfect beings. 
I expected a clerk chosen by competitive exami- 
nation to be wiser than Providence. I believed 
that virtue could be supplied from a generating- 
station, like gas and electricity, by the cubic foot. 
I expected to change greed into honesty by 
changing coins into paper tickets. I hoped that 
what Christianity had failed to do in two thou- 
sand years could be done in a few hoursby a bundle 
of resolutions passed by a committee of quarrel- 
some cranks like myself. And I was a fool. (Loud 
applause.) Idon'twantyourapplause. Iwantyou 
to be angry with me — as angry as I am with you. 

F.B.O. (Distressed) What for. Master i 

Mr. Shaw. For taking me seriously. 

Keir-Hardie. You are complaining of the 
triumph of your own principles. 

Mr. Shaw. Well, and have you forgotten what 
I said about the Superman — meaning myself ? 
I said that the triumph of his principles meant 
their degradation to the common level, his 
teaching being accepted by the mob just as the 
teaching of St. John was accepted by cannibals 
(Murmurs), or the philosophy of Plato by aa 
Oxford imdergraduate. (Louder murmurs.) 


F.B.O. {In pained reproach) Ere, that'll do. 
Master ! We don't want none of them names. 

Keir-Hardie. (BeunldereJ) But— but— look 
here : if you don't want your own principles to 
tnumph, then I'm hanged if I can tell what you 
do want ! 

Mr. Shaw. I can tell you what we all want : 
good temper and common sense. After all this 
time, can't you see yet that the whole art and 
science of politics and sociology is to get hold of 
intelligent and capable men, and make it worth 
their while to serve you honourably ? Your 
policy is to rid the world of brains. What you 
call Socialism is nothing but spite and jealousy. 
{Points to the Mechanical Chairman.) And this 
is what it has brought you to. TTiere is the 
Socialist ideal ! 

Keir-Hardie. It would work very well if the 
mechanism were a little more perfect. 

Mr. Shaw. Good gracious, man, can't you see 
that it doesn't work at all ? You have been con- 
ducting this meeting, not that penny tin-whistle. 
I am beginning to think that the whole world 
has been asleep for two hundred years, and that 
I am the only one who has awaked. 

F.B.O. What do you want us to do. Master ? 

Mr. Shaw. Take me for yoiir Chairman ! 
{Prolonged applause, during which Mr. Shaw sits 
in the vacant chair.) 

Keir-Hardie. (Stands) I rise to order 

Mr. Shaw. {Stands) I rule you out of order ! 
{Vigorous applause, followed by hisses, and cries of 
— Order! Sitdoum! Keis.-Harj>ib sullenly gives 

by Google 


way.) We have had enough speeches ; I want to 
see whether you are prepared to act. 

Keir-Hardie. What do you propose ? (Cries 
of— Order !) 

Mr. Shaw. You call yourselves Anti-Shavians : 
if you are in earnest let us begin by pulUng down 
the Shaw Memorial Hall. {Loud applause, the 
Comrades rising and waving pocket-handkerchiefs 
of brown calico^ 

Keir-Hardie. What good will that do f(^«gry 

F.B.O. Turn him out ! 

Mr. Shaw. If you do that he may go and warn 
the other Fabians. {Angry groans; the Com- 
rades shake their fists at Keir-Hardie.) Leave 
him alone, he has come here under my protection ! 
{Sharply) Order ! ( The clamour ceases instantly.) 
As soon as we have finished with the Fabians, we 
will go on to the Houses of Parliament and turn 
out the women. { Applause.) After that, we can 
tackle the Maharajah — {Loud applause) — and 
the Medical Board. ( A universal gasp of dismay, 
followed by dead silence. The Comrades shrink 
hack, and those at the back begin sitting down.) 
What is the matter with you now ? 

Voice. {Of Of Marchioness of Holloway 
outside) Help ! 

The nearest Comrades go to the doors 
and open them. The staircase has 
stopped, and only the lower part of the 
Marchioness's figure is visible. She is 
standing on the dotontoard band, about 



three feet above the level of the floor, 
clutching the handrail with one hand, 
while the other clasps a document partly 
printed and partly written. 

F.B.O. {He comes and stands in the doorway, 
facing her.) Jump, and I'll catch you. 

Makchioness. {Anxiously) Do you think 
you're strong enough ? 

F.B.O. Back me up, mates. {A number of 
the Comrades form a wedge behind him.) Now ! 

The staircase starts abruptly, causing 

the Marchioness to spring through the 

air into the arms of F.B.O., who falls 

backward, bringing all the Comrades to 

the ground. The Marchioness stumbles, 

but comes upright, still tightly clasping 

the document. 

Keir-Hardie. {Coming to her assistance) 

Marchioness ! What has brought you here ? 

( He closes the doors.) 

Marchioness. I am looking for my husband. 
(Mr. Shaw snatches up his cloak, and tries to put it 
on.) Ah, I have found him ! Look ! {Holds out 
the document.) 

Mr. Shaw. {Crossly) Well, what is that i 
Marchioness. {With laving triumph) Our mar- 
riage lines ! 

Ms. Shaw. Merciful heavens ! But we can't 
be married already. 

Marchioness. We are. I have just married 
you by proxy at the offices of the Connubial 
Board. {In a voice of dreamy rapture, holding out 


her arms.) You are mine — for a fortnight ! 
(Mr. Shaw recoils in dismay.) 

The doors open again and Lady Wells 
staggers on to the stage, holding a similar 
document. F.B.O. closes the door and 
remains near it. 

Lady Wells. Is he here I 

Mr. Shaw. Another of them ! This is bigamy ! 

Lady Wells. (Sees, and goes towards him.) My 
Greek god ! 

Mr. Shaw. I don't mind being your Greek 
god, I was afraid you were going to call me your 

Lady Wells. That is the coarse, mundane way 
of putting it. Behold ! {She holds out the docu- 
ment.) The title-deed of paradise ! 

Mh, Shaw. Madam, I am surprised at you. 
Do you realize that you are speaking to a married 
man F This lady has just told me that I am hers 
— for a fortnight. 

Lady Wells. {Exultingly) And you are mine 
for the next fortnight ! 

Mr. Shaw. Oh! (Collapses.) I seem to be a 
sort of contingent remainder. 

Voices in dispute are heard outside. 
The doors open, and the Permanent 
Lady's Maid emerges, dragging the Per- 
manent Prime Ministress by one hand, 
and holding a bundle of papers in the 
other. F.B.O. closes the doors. 

This must be the residuary legatee 




Lady's Maid. {In the tone of a nurse to a fretful 
child) Come along. The gentleman won't bite you. 

Mr. Shaw. Here ! I can't be a party to an 

Lady's Maid. {In her official voice) I have the 
honour to announce that Her Highness has be- 
stowed her hand in marriage on you, at the offices 
of the Connubial Board. 

Mr. Shaw. The Board seem to be working at 
highpressure. They willhave to increase theirstaff. 

Prime Ministress. {Looks round in despair.) 
But this is the wrong one. 

Mr. Shaw. Ah, a slight mistake — very natural 
in such a rush of business at the office. No doubt 
it can easily be put right, 

Lady's Maid. There is no mistake, sir. {Holds \ 
out the papers.) These are the marriage settle- j 
ments. They take effect one month from to-day. I 

Ms. Shaw. I will make a note of the date, but I 
I have a good many other engagements. You had 
better drop me a postcard to remind me. 

Prime Ministress. You promised me that I 
should have the other gentleman. J 

Lady's Maid. It is all right : so you shall, in, I 
another fortnight. 

Mr. Shaw. Make it a week if you like. Any- 
thing to oblige a lady. 

Prime Ministress. ( After a good look at Mr. | 
Shaw) I can't bear this one. 

Mr. Shaw. In the Capitalist Age it was usual 
to reserve these observations till after the honey- 
moon. I am afraid I shall have to apply to the j 
Connubial Board for a divorce. 



Laby's Maid. ( Astonished) Divorce ! 

Marchioness. (Stirred to the depths of her 
nature) Divorce ! 

Lady Wells. We have no divorce in the 
Social Commonwealth. With us marriage is a 
sacred bond. 

Mr. Shaw. It seems to be payable in instal- 
ments. {Noise without.) What, are the Board 
still at it ? 

Lord Blatchford is hurled on to the 
stage with violence. 7his time the stair- 
case stops, and the doors remain open. 
Mr. Shaw looks relieved. 

I see it is only a case of adoption this time. 

Blatchford. Impersonation, you mean. You 
are an impostor, sir ! 

Mr. Shaw. Of course ! The very thing I was 
going to suggest. 

Blatchford. I believe that you are no more 
Bernard Shaw than I am. 

Mr. Shaw. Good man ! Does this entitle me 
to a declaration of nullity of marriage — of all my 
marriages ? 

Marchioness. {In tones of strong authority) No ! 

Prime Ministress. Oh, I hope so ! 

Lady Wells. Not in my case. I love you 
for yourself alone, with a pure soul-Iove ! 

Blatchford. If you have taken advantage of 
these confiding women to set up a harem the first 
night, that makes your case ten times worse. I 
wonder you don't claim to be Bluebeard. You 
seem to know the part. 


Keis-Hardie. Have you discovered anything ? 

Blatchford. I have discovered that the real 
Bernard Shaw was beheaded for high treason in 
the reign of Old King Cole. 

Prime Ministress. {Claps her hands.) I am 

Blatchford. Fortunately the matter has been 
taken out of our hands. This pretender has been 
reported to the Medical Board. {Thg Comrades 
gaze at each other in consternation.) 

Lady Wells. {She grasps Mr. Shaw's arm, 
and clings to him) Oh, fly ! Fly this instant ! 

Mr. Shaw. How can I fly when you are 
holding me i 

Blatchford. It is useless. The sanitary staff 
are outside. ( The electric light goes out, leaving the 
stage in darkness.) 

Mr. Shaw. Who did that ? Turn on the light 

F.B.O. We can't. 

Lady Wells. It has been turned off by the 
Municipal Supply. They turn it off every night 
at nine o'clock. 

Mr. Shaw. It's like supper after the theatre. 

Lady Wells. Too late ! 

The staircase moves again. A number 
of Nurses carrying electric torches come 
in, and range themselves round the door. 
They are followed by the Municipai, 
Physician, and two Municipal Dispen- 
sers, all three dressed like Inquisitors in 
black gowns with peaked hoods. Lady 

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Wells remains by Mr. Shaw ; the rest 
shrink back. 

Physician. {To Blatchford) Which is the 
case i (Blatchford -points to Mr. Shaw.) 

Mr. Shaw. What are you ? one of my fathers- 
in-law ? 

Physician. I am the Municipal Physician. 

Mr. Shaw. You are too soon. You had better 
call again in nine months. 

Physician. You are my patient. I caution 
you that whatever you say may be taken down, 
and recorded on your medical chart. ( The first 
Dispenser produces a note-book^ You are sus- 
pected of cerebral abnormality. {Moans from the 
Comrades.) Let me feel your pulse. 

Mr. Shaw. You had better not touch me. I 
don't know what it is, but I might give it to you. 

Physician. (To the Dispenser, in a calm, bed- 
side voice) Symptoms of nervous irritability, 
accompanied by morbid aversion to medical 
treatment. {The Dispenser zorites. To Mr. 
Shaw) Do you sometimes have a feeling of 
pressure in the anterior lobes of the occiput f 

Lady Wells. Don't answer. You are entitled 
to reserve your symptoms. 

Mr. Shaw. I won't. {To Physician.) I am 
sorry to tell you that I am not entitled to your 
kind services. I have just remembered that I 
never affixed my stamp last Monday. 

Lady Wells. Saved ! He is not insured ! 

Physician. Foiled ! {Indignantly to Blatch- 
ford) You have brought me here for nothing. 




Blatchford. [Nobly) I will pay his threepence. 
( Tenders the amount.) 

Physician. Really, this is very informal, but 
under the circumstances — ( Takes the threepence. 
To Mr. Shaw) — ^When did you last see a 
doctor ? 

Mr. Shaw. I believe about two hundred years 

Physician. {Shakes his head seriously.) It is 
seldom wise to go so long. Where is your medical 
certificate f 

Mr. Shaw. Haven't got one. But I can offer 
you three marriage certificates. 

Physician. That settles it, ( Nods to Dispenser, 
who puts up his note-book.) The patient has con- 
fessed to being at large without a medical licence. 
(To Mr. Shaw) Consider yourself invalided. 

Lady Wells. O spare him ! 

Mr. Shaw. (To Physician) I consider you an 

Physician. (Nods with a satisfied air.) The 
infallible symptom ! — questioning the sanity of 
the physician. ( To the Nurses) Take him to the 
ambulance. (The Nurses approach.) 

Mr. Shaw. Hands off ! 

Physician. If the patient is fractious give him 
the hygienic waistcoat. 

Mr. Shaw. {Calls) Comrades! {They keep 
still.) Are there no men amongst you ? {F.B.Q, 
and a few more move forward half-heartedly.) 

Physician. Take sanitary precautions ! {The 
Dispensers suddenly produce small glass bombs, 
like electric lamps, which they hold up ready to 


throw. Tke would-be rescuers crowd back, uttering 
cries of terror.) 

Lady Wells. {Catches Ms. Shaw's arm.) 
Oh, be careful ! One drop is fatal. 

Mr. Shaw. What, do these fiends throw 
vitriol ? 

Lady Wells. Far worse — ^it is the Disinfec- 
tant ! 

Keir-Harbie. Don't pretend that you have 
forgotten that, too. This was the means by 
which your followers set up the Social Ginunon- 

Mr. Shaw. Did they ? {Lets his arms fall.) 
Put on the strait-waistcoat. 

Act Drop. 

Jnd other drops at the option of the audience. 

by Google 

Stage Directions. 

The seem is laid in the Cabinet of His Fice- 
Majesty Maharajah Sri Singh Mahindar Jdhiraj 
Ranjisinghji Bahadur, K.G., Viceroy of England. 

In the back wall, but towards the left of the au~ 
dience {for the sake of variety), is a French window, 
accessible from without by aeroplane. In the right 
totdl, towards the back, is a door. 

Against whichever wall may be most convenient 
to the stage carpenter is a clock, marking about 
half-past eleven a.m. On the back wall, to the right 
of the window, hangs a large map of the world on 
Mercator's projection, reminding the audience of 
what the British Empire has been brought to by 
Socialism. India and England are coloured in the 
familiar red; Ireland, Scotland and Wales, which 
have united in a Celtic Republic, are green; 
Australia is yellow. South Africa is black, and 
Canada is striped pink and white, having adopted 
the flag of the United States. The rest of the map 
is colourless. Against the right wall, between the 
footlights and the door, stands a pedestal supporting 
a gruesome Hindu God with three heads and 
numerous arms, to admonish thoughtless bishops in 
the stalls that our Christian country has now passed 
beneath the rule of an Idolater. 

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The most important property is a flat writing- 
table, about six feet by three, with an armchair 
behind it, backing on to the left wall. The table is 
endways on to the audience, and in the end next to 
the footlights is a conspicuous white button, fixed 
just under the edge of the table, so as to be within 
reach of the Viceroy's right hand, when he is seated 
at his desk, while out of sight of callers. On the 
table are a hand-bell and the usual writing appliances. 

Facing this desk, or writing-table (for which the 
English language has no recognized name — the 
French call it a ''^secretaire" or "escritoire"), so 
as to come to the middle of the stage, is another 
armchair, fixed to the floor. Half-a-dozen other 
chairs of the expensively uncomfortable kind usually 
found in Government Departments are ranged 
round the walls. The rest of the furniture and 
fittings are in the splendid, but barbaric, taste of the 
Asiatic despot. 

As soon as the curtain has risen the Munshi 
comes in by the door, which he closes behind him. 
He carries the familiar official flat basket, piled 
about two feet high with serious-looking papers, and 
sets it down on the table at the end next to the 

Munshi. The Maharajah is late again. {He 
glances at the clock.) More than half-past eleven. 
{Shakes his head.) Up again all last night as 
usual, I suppose. These English houris are 
abandoned beyond belief, {Goes to the window 
and looks out.) Ah, that is his plane. 


The MuKSHi opens the window, and 
salaams. 7he plane stops outside, and 
the Viceroy alights, stepping in through 
the window. He is dressed in magnificent 
robes, with a jewelled turban; and wears 
bracelets and earrings; but his air is 
dissipated, and he dares not ask a blessing 
from the office Idol. The Mukshi pros- 
trates himself. 

Viceroy. Continue to live. 

MuNSHi. (Rises) Health to the Eagle of 
Velocity ! 

Viceroy. [Walks up to the table, and frowns at the 
papers.) What is all this rubbish ? 

MuNSHi. Merciful Lawgiver, these are the Acts 
of Parliament passed yesterday, subject to your 
gracious assent. 

Viceroy. {Sits down heavily.) These natives 
must be mad. The laws of India have not been 
changed since the days of Manu. Is there any- 
thing that I need hear about i 

MuNSHi. (He takes a memorandum off the top 
of the pile, and glances down it.) There is an Act 
fixing the length of the Comrades' hair at an inch 
and a half, O Hirsute One. 

Viceroy. Why, I thought I assented to an Act 
about that only last week. 

MuNSHi. Prodigy of Recollection, the Act 
last week fixed it at an inch and a quarter. 
Before then it was an inch. 

Viceroy. Meddlesome fools ! (Snatches the 
Bill and signs it.) 



MuNSHi. The last bye-election was won by the 
hairdressers' vote, and they want to do less work. 
Industrious One. 

Viceroy. So do I. {Snatches the next Bill.) 
What's this about f 

MuNSHi. That is the Act for the Codification of 
the Laws of Golf Amendment Act, Further 
Amendment Act, may it please your Vice-Majesty. 

Viceroy. Hullo ! I can't have my golf in- 
terfered with. What do they want to do now ? 

MuNSHi. The new Minister for Sport is a 
member of the Caddies' Union, O Niblick of the 
Universe. The Act provides that the players shall 
carry their own clubs, and pick up their own balls. 

Viceroy. And what on earth are the caddies 
to do ? 

MuNSHi. They are to use the language. Most 
Eloquent One. 

Viceroy. Then I wish I had one of them here, 
now. { Tears up the Bill, and throws it into a 
tffastepaper basket.) Any more practical jokes f 

MuNSHi. The hours of the Moving Staircase 
Operators have been reduced to three, by an Act 
passed in special Session, 

Viceroy. What was that for ? 

MuNSHi. Because, after the House had ad- 
journed, the operators refused to work the stair- 
case by which the members leave, Inquisitive 
One ; so they had to go back and pass this Act 
in order to get home. 

Viceroy. {Signing) I wish the operators 
would refuse to let them into the House, next 
time. Is that all ? 



MuNSHi. AH that would interest the Tulip of 
Common Sense. There are the usual improve- 
ments in the grammar of Esperanto. 

Viceroy. {Signingthe Bills in rapid succession) 
Any rise or fall in the Budget to-day ? 

MuNSHi. {He -picks out the Estimates.) The 
Ministers have raised their own salaries by twenty 

Viceroy. {Leaves off signing.) Don't talk that 
Socialist nonsense to me. What is it in rupees ? 

MuNSHi, O Ready Reckoner, it is ten thousand. 

Viceroy, Let me see, my commission on that 
is a hundred thousand, isn't it ? 

MuNSHi. {Bows) If your Vice-Majesty gra- 
ciously assents to the Estimates. 

Viceroy. Ahem ! Give them to me — I trust 
that I am no tyrant. {Signs with an air of muck 
amiability.) By the way, what is this excitement 
among the natives ? 

MuNSHi. As far as I can make out, it is some 
trouble about a god, Most Pious One. 

Viceroy. Dear me, I hope we aren't going to 
have another religious, riot. Is it that one with a 
horse's head, that gives oracles ? 

MuNSHi. No, Patron of the Turf 

Viceroy. Because the last time he tipped the 
wrong horse for the Derby his priests were nearly 

MuNSHi. {With feeling They deserved it, 
Mirror of Justice. I had put my turban on the 
beast. But this is the idol of the Fabians. 

Viceroy. Well, what is the matter with him ? 

MuNSHi. They are giving out that he has just 


awakened, after lying asleep for two hundred 

Viceroy. Then I should think it was about 
time he did wake. 

MuNSHi. {Doubles up with laughter) O Elephant 
of Wit, you will be the death of me ! 

Viceroy. {Pleased with his effort) Yes, I 
flatter myself that was rather neat. Would you 
like to hear it again 7 

MuNSHi. {Becoming grave) Your slave is un- 
worthy of so much honour ; but the Fabians are 
in attendance, and they will assuredly be 
ravished by it. 

Viceroy. {Giving up the idea of an encore with 
some reluctance) What do they want i 

MuNSHi. They pray Your Vice-Majesty to 
grant them an audience, on business of urgent 
pubhc interest. 

Viceroy. Ahem ! Have you told them that it 
is my birthday f 

MuNSHi. I told them that last month, O 
Ageless One. This time I said it was the birthday 
of your exalted twin brother. They hope that 
you will deign to accept a small offering of rupees 
on his behalf. 

Viceroy. How much is it ? 

MuNSHi. Loadstone of Perquisites, it is a 

Viceroy. Ah ! They must want to sec me 
very badly if they offer as much as that. Tell 
them that I have two twin brothers. 

MuNSHi. I will inform the head Begum, O 
Incomparable Business Man. {Goes out.) 

by Google 


Viceroy. ( He resumes the work of signing the 
Bills without reading them.) That will just pay for 
Flome*8 diamonds. — I must really get a rubber 

The MuNSHi shows in the Mar- 
chioness OF HOLLOWAY, LaDY WeLLS, 

and Lords Blatchford and Keir- 

MuNSHi. Their Excellencies the Hereditary 
Fabians. ( Jll salaam- to the Viceroy, who nods to 
them with condescension.) 

Viceroy. Let them be seated. {The Munshi 
bows the Marchioness to the fixed chair, and brings 
forward three others. The Fabians sit in a row 
curving round so as to face the Viceroy and the 

Marchioness. We venture to hope that your 
Vice-Majesty will treat this interview as con- 

Viceroy. {Beckons the Munshi, and speaks in 
his ear.) Have you got the money ? 

Munshi. {Speaks in H. F.M.'s ear.) They 
wouldn't trust me with it. 

Viceroy. ( Aloud) Then get out. 
The Munshi gets out. 

Marchioness. We have been gratified to learn 
that this is a joyful anniversary in your exalted 
family. We trust that we are not guilty of pre- 
sumption in asking you to accept a token of our 

loyalty, on behalf of your {Pauses, and looks 

for help to Blatchford) 

Blatchford. Brother. 


Viceroy. {Sharply) Brothers. 

Marchioness. Thank you, — your illustrious 
brothers. ( The Viceroy hotvs graciously.) 

Blatchford. May I have the honour ? {He 
lays a sealed envelope on the table.) 

Marchioness. We have come about a very 
serious matter 

Viceroy. { He has snatched up the envelope, and- 
is tearing it open.) Wait : I haven't counted it. 
{He takes out what is called in the American 
language a wad of bills, and checks the amount, the 
Fabians anxiously looking on; then gives a satis- 
fied nod, and leans back in his chair.) In the name 
of my brothers Your Excellencies may command 
me. Proceed. 

Marchioness. Yesterday, about this hour, 
Comrade A. i, otherwise known as Bernard Shaw, 

Viceroy. Is that the idol ? 

Marchioness. We revered him as one. We 
believed in him as the Founder of our Order, the 
Hero of the Social Revolution. 

Viceroy, {Leading up to a repetition of his 
successful mot) How long had he been 
asleep ? 

Marchioness. Over two hundred years. 

Viceroy. Then I should think it was about 
time he did wake. ( He chuckles. The Fabians, 
to whom this is no laughing matter, show disap- 
pointment and distress.) 

Marchioness. I am sorry Your Vice-Majesty 
takes that view of it. 


Viceroy. (Resentfully) I intended my obser- 
vation as an example of light and graceful 
badinage. My Munslu thought it excellent. 

Fabians. {EnsemhU) Of course ! How funny ! 
Stupid of us ! ( They laugh with servility.) 

Viceroy. (MoUified) I see you are not educa- 
ted up to Futurist humour. My Munslu nearly 
rolled on the floor with laughter. 

Marchioness. (Nervous) Lord Keir-Hardte is 
the middle-weight Tango champion. Perhaps he 
will roll. (Keir-Hardie shows uneasiness.) 

Viceroy. I will excuse you this time. I prefer 
the mirth excited by my humour to be more 
spontaneous. If I make this joke again I hope 
you will be on the qui vive. 

Marchioness. Perhaps Your Vice-Majesty 
would not mind touching the bell beforehand. 

Viceroy. (Severely) That ought not to be 

Keir-Hardie. The fact is that we are rather 
out of practice. An Act of Parliament was passed 
under your predecessor by which the penalty for 
joking is forty shillings. 

Viceroy. I will have it repealed. But you 
haven't told me how your god came to wake up. 

Marchioness. I am ashamed to tell you. It 
was the doing of Lady Wells. 

Viceroy. (He turns to Lady Wells with a 
smile that may be described as masculine.) And 
what did you do ? 

Lady Wells. (Lowers her eyes in a manner 
that may be described as feminine.) I only kissed 

by Google 


Blatchford. You said — " If only the Master 
wo\ild awake for twenty-four hours." I heard you. 

Viceroy. {He adopts an amorous tone which 
jars unpleasantly on the other Fabians, but appears 
much less obnoxious to Lady Wells.) Lucky 
sleeper ! I declare I feel only half awake, myself. 

Marchioness. {Sternly) Your Vice-Majesty is 
not aware that the object of this unbecoming 
conduct is now my husband. 

Viceroy. No ; is he f That does make a 
difference. I withdraw my remarks. 

Lady Wells. He will be mine this day fort- 

Marchioness. {With significance) If he is still 

Viceroy. {Ogling Lady Wells) Ah, is that 
so ? That must be prevented at all costs. 

Marchioness. I am glad to hear you say so. 
The fact is that Lady Wells' rash act threatens to 
have very serious consequences. The Comrades 
are in a state of ferment about it. 

Viceroy. {Continuing to regard the question 
chiefly as one between himself and Lady Wells) 
No doubt it has provoked envy ! 

Blatchford. {Impatiently) It threatens to 
provoke civil war. 

Viceroy. Ah, so there is a rival in the field 
already ! 

Marchioness. {Really angry) Your Vice- 
Majesty is pleased to treat it as a joke. 

Viceroy. {With his eyes still fioced on Lady 
Wells) And a very deUghtfiil one. I wish it had 
been made at my expense. 

by Google 


Blatchford. lonlyhopetherebellion won't be? 

Viceroy. {Faintly interested at last) Who is 
rebelling ? 

Blatchford. Bernard Shaw, as he calls him- 
self — the man who was awakened. 

Viceroy. {Relapsing into frivolity) Ungrateful 
wretch ! Is he out of his mind f 

Blatchford. That is just what we say. He 
was invalided last night on suspicion, and he is 
now in the Municipal Hospital. 

Viceroy. That explains it. {Shakes his head 
at Lady Wells.) But what a sad waste ! 

Keir-Hardie. You don't seem to realize the 
gravity of the situation. For two hundred years 
this man has been revered by the Comrades as a 
demigod. They look up to him as the author of 
the present system, the Founder of the Social 

Viceroy. I should think they must be right, 
from what you tell me about him. You were 
quite right to have him invaUded. 

Keir-Hardie. But last night, just before his 
arrest, he had placed himself at the head of the 
Anti-Shavian League, an organization which aims 
at undoing his own work. 

Viceroy. I see he has a sense of humour, at 
all events. 

Keir-Hardie. He assured the meeting last 
night that he had none. He described himself as 
a mischievous crank. 

Viceroy. And after that you accused him of 
mental deficiency ! It strikes me that they have 
invalided the wrong man. 

by Google 


Makchioness. {With emotion) It was a sad 
necessity. A wife is the best judge. I was 
obliged to recognize that it would have been 
dangerous to leave ray dear husband at large. He 
was on the point of leading his followers to wreck 
the Fabian Settlement. 

Viceroy. Oh ! I can quite see that you are 
sincere in thinking him insane. 

Blatchford. And after that he was going on 
to clear out the Houses of ParUament. 

Viceroy. Why, he must be the sanest man in 
England ! 

Keir-Hardie. {Spitefully) And next, he said, 
they were to " tackle the Maharajah." 

Viceroy. ( He starts to his feet, a marked change 
coming over his manner.) What ! Why didn't you 
tell me that at once ? The man must be a dan- 
gerous lunatic. This is a very serious matter. 
Are you sure he can't escape from the hospital ? 

Marchioness, That is what we came to see 
you about. He is safe there for the present, but 
the feeling in his favour is running very high 
among the Comrades, and we are afraid there may 
be a raid on the hospital at any moment, to rescue 

Viceroy. This must be seen to at once. I 
must call out the peace-planes. 

Lady Wells. Won't you send for him 
instead ? 

Viceroy, {Trembling Send for a violent mad- 
man who wants to tackle me ? 

Marchioness. I don't think you will find him 
dangerous. These gentlemen will tell you that 


the Marquis was quiet enough yesterday, when 
he was alone with us. 

Viceroy. {Somewhat reassured) Oh, you didn't 
tell me he was a marquis. That makes a difference, 
of course. {He sits doum.) 

Marchioness. He is the Marquis of Holloway 
by marriage. I can assure you my dear husband 
is not violent in private. A wife knows so well. 
We are all of opinion that it would be the wisest 
course for you to deal with him unofficially. 

Blatchford. It would cause great damage to 
property if the peace-planes had to operate 
against the Comrades in the streets. 

Lady Wells. Besides killi ng the poor things. 

Viceroy. It might be just as well to wipe out 
these Anti-Shavians, though. 

Keir-Hardie. {Anxiously) The Anti-Shavians 
would not be dangerous without Shaw. They 
have never given trouble before. 

Viceroy. Very well. {Rings. The Fabians 
sit up alertly, beginning to smile in anticipation.) 
I will send for him. {The Fabians laugh ener- 
getically.) What the devil are you laughing at. 

Marchioness. {Subduing her mirth) Your Vice- 
Majesty touched the bell. 

Viceroy. Are you mentally deficient ? That 
was for my Munshi. ( The Fabians become grave. 
The Munshi enters^ What hospital is he in ? 

Blatchford. South-east Municipal District 
A. 2. 

Viceroy. I am sick of that kind of talk. ( To 
the Munshi.) Send my plane to the Westminster 
Hospital with an order to bring the Marquis of 


Holloway here. And see that he is properly 
secured. { The Munshi salaams and retires.) 

Lady Wells, I will answer for him. 

Viceroy, ( Returning to his sentimental vein) 
Ah, but I can't let you be present when he comes. 
He has had his turn. 

Marchioness. It will be far better for Your 
Vice-Majesty to see him alone. If anything were 
to happen to my poor husband it would be too 
painful for me to be there. 

Viceroy, We had better speak plainly. What 
exactly do you ask me to do ? 

Marchioness, {Takes out a large white hand- 
kerchief. To Blatchford) You must tell him. 
{She conceals her face in the handkerchief^ 

Blatchford. We think it would be much the 
best way out of the difficulty if the Marquis were 
to pass away peacefully in an apoplectic fit. ( The 
Marchioness gives a loud sob.) 

Viceroy. ( He and Blatchford exchange looks 
of intelligence.) I see. You have heard that 
troublesome visitors someti mes have an apoplectic 
fit in my office f 

Blatchford, From which they never recover. 

Marchioness, {In a doleful voice, but yet gra- 
dually overcoming her grief) We have no wish to 
pry into your administrative methods. They 
appear to work admirably. 

Viceroy. Well, I don't mind letting you into 
the secret, as I see I can count on your loyalty. 
You see this button, ( The Fabians come forward 
and inspect it at a respectful distance, with looks of 


Marchioness. (Still rather melancholy) Won- 
derful ! Most ingenious ! So simple ! ( The 
Fabians move back to their seats, murmuring their 

Viceroy. ( As they are sitting doton again) Yes, 
quite simple. It is connected with one of those 
<mairB — ( ^he Fabians all start to their feet, with 
marks of strong emotion.) It is all right. It can't 
act unless I press the button. 

Marchioness. It is really time we were going. 
I am afraid we are trespassing on your kindness. 

Viceroy. ( To Lady Wells) Surely you won't 
desert me ? You don't think I could harm you P 
Besides, it isn't your chair. I shall feel oflFended 
if you don't trust me. (Lady Wells sits ner- 
vously on the extreme edge of her chair, the others 

Marchioness. {In an insinuating voice, while 
making ashow of sitting dotcm) And which chair is it ? 

Viceroy. That. {Points to hers. She stands 
up abruptly, while Lords Blatchford and Keir- 
Hardie cautiously resume their seats.) Please sit 
down. I assure you the chair is perfectly safe. 

Marchioness. I feel sure it would be for 
anybody else. But I have never understood 

Viceroy. But it is so easy. While I am 
talking I put out my hand so. {While speaking 
he lays his hand on the edge of the table, so that the 
button is within reach of his finger. The Mar- 
chioness jumps, and hastily moves away from the 
chair.) I am sorry to see you so distrustful. ( He 
withdraws his hand in a huff.) 

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Marchioness. Not in the very least ! But I 
have just remembered — {Puts the handkerchief to 
ker eyes again) — I have to see about my mourning 

Viceroy. {Still offended) It is a pity I ex- 
plained the arrangement. 

Marchioness. Don't say that. I am extremely 
thankful you did. 

Viceroy. You don't seem to like it. {A 
knock.) Come in ! 

fUMARCHioNESs. (Eagerly) Let me open the 

She makes a dash for it, but before she 
gets there it is opened from without by the 


MuNsHi. Her Highness the Permanent Prime 

7he Marchioness, seeing a way out of 
the danger, remains quiescent. The 
Viceroy rises as the Prime Ministress 
enters, attended by the PermanentLady' s 
Maid, and goes forward, extending his 
hand to he kissed. The Fabians also 
stand up. TheTmuE Ministress begins 
nervously shaking the proffered hand. 
Lady's Maid. No, not that way. You must 
kiss it. 

Prime Ministress. {Looks at it doubtfully) 
Oughtn't he to wash it first f 

Viceroy, {Withdrawing the insulted member) 
Her Highness seems more distrait than usual this 
morning. Her responsibilities seem to be getting 


too much for her. (To Munshi.) Give Her 
Highness a chair. ( He resumes his oten seat.) 

Marchioness. (As the Munshi is about to obey) 
Let Her Highness have my seat. {Pointing to it.) 

Lady'sMaid. Your Excellency is very thought- 
ful. {She conducts the Prime Ministress to 
the fixed chair, and stands behind it, resting her 
hands on the back. The Fabians sit down as 
formerly, hut in doing so they contrive to edge their 
chairs a good deal further away from the point of 
danger. The Marchioness sinks thankfully into 
a chair beside the door, as the Munshi goes out.) 
Her Highness has waited on Your Vice-Majesty 
in consequence of the disturbed state of the 

Viceroy. {Seeing his opportunity) Ah, yes, 
you mean about this man who has awakened ? 

Lady's Maid. Yes, Your Vice-Majesty. He 
was invalided last night, and the 

Viceroy. Not so fast. Let us have the facts 
clearly. He had been asleep for a long time, 
hadn't he ? {Winks at the Fabians, who respond 
with sickly smiles.) 

Lady's Maid. Yes, Your Vice-Majesty. 

Viceroy. {Smiling, with his hand on the bell) 
How long had he been asleep ? {The Fabians 
begin giggling.) 

Lady's Maid. {Little understanding what is 
expected of her) I don't know, Your Vice-Majesty. 
{A faint tinkle is drawn from the bell, as the 
Viceroy withdraws his hand in bitter disappoint- 
ment. The Fabians rock with sycophantic laughter. 

Yicebloy. {Furious) Fool! (The Fabians 

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promptly cut short their mistimed mirth. The 
Lady's Maid is bewildered.) 

Marchioness. [With a courtier's zeal) Two 
hundred years. 

Viceroy. Then I should think it was about 
time he did wake. ( 7 his time the Fabians 
hesitate till the Viceroy gives the signal by laughing 
himself, token they give way to almost unnatural 
merriment. The Lady's Maid and Prime Minis- 
tress, thoroughly disconcerted, exchange looks of 

Prime Ministress. What are they all laughing 
at ? 

Viceroy. {To Lady's Maid) It is perfectly 
evident that Her Highness is in great need of 
rest. I shall communicate with the Medical 

Lady's Maid. I beg Your Vice-Majesty's 
pardon. You may not know that Her Highness is 
the President of the Board, ex officio. She 
obtained full marks in Mental Pathology. {The 
Viceroy is silenced.) She is naturally worried by 
this affair. 

Viceroy. That is all right. I have discussed 
the matter with Their Excellencies already. You 
may tell the Government that I am taking 
measures to put an end to the danger. 

Lady's Maid. Her Highness is very anxious to 
avoid calling out the peace-planes. 

Viceroy. I don't think that will be necessary. 
I have sent for the Marquis of Holloway to come 
here. {He and the L-ahy'sM-Aid exchange looks of 


Prime Ministress. Oh, then, I'm going ! 

Lady's Maid. You shall directly. ( To Vice- 
roy) Her Highness has been dreading the prospect 
of having him for her husband. 

Viceroy. {Kindly, to Prime Ministress) You 
needn't be afraid, my dear. I have strong grounds 
for thinking that the illness from which he is 
suffering will shortly terminate fatally. 

Prime Ministress. (Disappointed, to Lady's 
Maid) You promised me you would ask the Vice- 
roy to kill him. 

Lady's Maid. Hush ! That is what His Vice- 
Majesty means. 

Prime Ministress. {To Viceroy) Oh, thank 
you. Do, please, tell me how you do it. 

Viceroy. If you are sure that it won't frighten 
you. This button — ( The Prime Ministress and 
Lady'sMaid lean forward to peer round the comer 
of the table) — is connected with the chair in which 
you are sitting. ( The Lady's Maid withdraws her 
hands, and jumps back with a scream. Her mis- 
tress remains absorbed in the explanation.) I have 
only to press the button, so { Touches it with his 
finger), and you go off. 

Prime Ministress. (Muchdeligkted)'H.ow very, 
very funny ! Do let me see you do it. 

Viceroy. I thought you objected to wait for 
the Marquis. 

Prime Ministress. Oh, never mind him. {To 
Lady's Maid) Quick, go and fetch a Comrade, 

Marchioness. {In tones of mournful anxiety) 
Will there be enough electricity for two ? 


Lady's Maid. {Looking totvards the tifindoto) I 
think this is his lordship. 

Prime Ministress. {Rises in great alarm) Oh, 
please excuse me, everybody. I have got to open 
a bazaar. 

AUrise. JstheVwM'EMittisTRESsand 
Lady's Maid hurry out by the door, the 
plane draws up outside, and Mr. Shaw 
comes in through the window. He is 
dressed in the costume of a clown in the 
old-fashioned pantomimes, and his wrists 
and ankles are feUered by chains which 
clank as he moves. 

Lady Wells. The Master ! 

Mr. Shaw. {Rattles his chains.) I am glad you 
think so. I was rather afraid you might mistake 
me for a slave. 

Marchioness. My poor Bernard ! {Sobs.) 

Blatchford. We have no slaves left in Merrie 

Mr. Shaw, You still seem to have a few liars. 
{Looks round smiling.) Is this the Maharajah ? 
( His manner shows that he has not been trained in 
the deference due from an Englishman to oru of the 
ruling race.) 

Viceroy. {fFiik dignity) 1 am the Viceroy of 
this Dependency. You may be seated. {Waves 
his hand towards the chair of doom, and sits down 

Lady Wells. ( As Mr. Shaw is about to take 
a different chair) Not there ! Sit by me ! 

Mr. Shaw. {Beguiled by the temptress) I am 

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not entitled to till this day fortnight. (Takes 
the chair, the Fabians standing by. To the 
Viceroy) I must really congratulate you on your 
aeroplane. (Taums.) That ride through the air 
has made me quite ^eepy. 
Viceroy. (Starting joyfully as he sees a fresh 

^iening) I heard that you were a sound sleeper, 
hey tell me you have only just awakened from a 
sleep of — ^how long was it ? (Beams on the 
Fabians, who break into expectant grins.) 

Mr. Shaw. Two hundred years ; so it is about 
time I did awake, isn't it? (The smiles of the 
Fabians freeze on their lips.) 

Viceroy. ( Heart-broken) Damn ! ^ (ff^itk sud- 
den sternness) Let me have no unbecoming 
levity, if you please. This is not a Court of Law. 
I suppose you know what you are suspected of ? 

Mr. Shaw. Yes. In such a society as this I 
feel it a compliment to be told that I am ab- 
normal. ( Jumps up.) But I really can't sit here 
while these ladies are standing. (To the Mar- 
chioness) Won't you take this chair ? 

Marchioness. I would not deprive you of it 
for worlds. 

Viceroy. Be good enough to resume your 
seat. ( To the Fabians) I think you may leave 
the Marquis with me. But be in the next room in 
case I should want you. 

The Marchioness puts her handker- 
chief to her eyes as she is going out, but 
takes it away to make signs to the other 

> To be altered to " Daih I " in the copf lubmitted to the CeiiMt. 

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three that they should remove their chairs 
out of Mr. Shaw's reach, they place 
them back against the wall, and go out, 
the Marchioness leading the way with 
her head bowed in grief. 

Mr. Shaw. {Sitting again) You seem to be the 
real Master. 

Viceroy. Sir, your manner is very familiar. 
Do you realize that you are in the presence of the 
representative of India I 

Mr. Shaw. Do you realize that you are in the 
presence of an Englishman i But of course not : 
how could you ? I have outlived my species. 
{Drops his liead in his hands.) 

Viceroy. It is a pity you didn't think of that 
before. You ought to be more sensible — at your 
age. Come, I have every wish to make allowance 
for your extraordinary situation, but the sooner 
you realize that your life is in my hands, the 
better for you. ( He rests his hand on the edge of 
the desk, beside the button.) 

Mr. Shaw. ( Jumps up.) What, do you mean 
to tell me that there are no laws in this wretched 
Commonwealth ? 

Viceroy. {Moves his hand away unconsciously 
in turning to point to the Acts of Parliament.) 
Millions of laws. They pass them at the rate of a 
bushel a day. But they don't apply to me, of 

Mr. Shaw. Why not ? (Tatons.) 

Viceroy. Because I belong to the Viceroys* 

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Trade Union. I am the only member. But do 
sit down. 

Mr. Shaw. [Sitting) I belong to the Authors* 

Viceroy. I am sorry for you. Authors have 
been abolished, I believe, for about a hundred and 
fifty years, on the ground that their labour was 

Mr. Shaw. I ought to have guessed that. Then 
does no one write books any longer ? 

Viceroy. I am not sure if the law actually 
forbids writing. However they are allowed to 
print them, though of course they are only paid 
for the actual type-setting. The time they waste 
in thinking is deducted. 

Mr. Shaw. It was coming to that in my time. 
I only wonder the law doesn't forbid thinking. 

Viceroy. That would be quite unnecessary 
in a Social Commonwealth. (Mr. Shaw laughs. 
The Viceroy is gratified.) Come, I am sure you 
are perfectly harmless. 

Mr. Shaw. ( A'of jmi^^ p/ifflj*<i) What makes you 
think that ? 

Viceroy. Because you have a sense of humour. 
No humorist ever yet made a revolution. 

Mr. Shaw. And yet they tell me I am re- 
sponsible for this Commonwealth. I am afraid it 
is a very bad joke. 

Viceroy. Then why try to repeat it ? Besides, 
what do you suppose that you could do against 
me? {Places his hand as before.) I have only to 
call out my peace-planes, and lay London in 



Mr. Shaw. What are peace-planes i 

Viceroy. Armoured planes carrying bombs. 

Mr. Shaw. Why don't you call them war- 
planes i 

Viceroy. Because we wish to show our respect 
for humanitarian teaching — ^your teaching, you 
know. {Smiles. Mr. Shaw smiles in response. 
Both begin laughing, and the Viceroy toithdratos 
his hand, and leans back in his chair.) My dear 
Marquis, I can see that you are one of the right 
sort, really. You're too good a man to go about 
stirring up the natives. They won't thank you. 
Why not leave them alone, and emigrate to some 
civilized country like India ? I will give you 
introductions to some of my friends, who wUl be 
delighted to put you up. (Sotto voce) I have got 
a little supper on to-mght, if you like to come. 
{Puts his hand beside his mouth, and adds some- 
thing in a whisper.^) 

Mr. Shaw. {Draws back indignantly) I am 
surprised at you. Besides, you forget that I am 
on my honeymoon. I cannot go anywhere with- 
out the Marchioness. 

Viceroy. Not when you are caUed by the Life 
Force ? 

Mr. Shaw. You have no right to throw my 
discredited doctrines in my teeth like that. You 
make me all the more determined to undo the 
mischief I have done. {Taams.) 

Viceroy. My good sir, you will only make bad 
worse. But you reformers are never satisfied. 

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Yoa took these unfortunate people out of the 
fiying-pan, and they fell into the fire ; and now 
they have got used to the fire you want to take 
them out and put them back in the frying-pan. 
Why not leave them alone i 

Mr. Shaw. {In a tone of apology) My life has 
always been devoted to the service of my fellow 

Viceroy. That accounts for their chaining you 
up. If you were a true philosopher you would 
only be amused by their mechanical mOlennium. 

Mr. Shaw. {Warmly) Amused by human suf- 
fering ! ( The Viceroy starts, and puts out his hand 
as before, but takes it away again, as Mr. Shaw is 
on his feet too quickly for him.) Man, have you 
no human feeling i 

Viceroy. (0//^»(itfii) What was that you called 
me ? 

Mr. Shaw. Ah, so you don't call yourself a 
man ? 

Viceroy. Certainly not. 

Mr. Shaw. Then what are you, pray ? 

Viceroy. A Superman. 

Mr. Shaw. {Sinks back into his chair) Frank- 
enstein ! 

Viceroy. {His hand steals towards the button.) 
I am really reluctant to take strong measures. If 
you will give me your undertaking to go quietly, 
I will deport you as an undesirable. 

Mr. Shaw. Where to ? Is there any country 
that would take me i 

Viceroy. They will be very glad to have you 
in South Africa. 

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Mr. Shaw. No ! {He jumps up. The Viceroy 
makes a move to press the button, but is too late again, 
and draws back disappointed.) Let me first make 
a public recantation of my teaching. 

Viceroy. But your recantation is worse than 
your teaching. 

Mr. Shaw. { Advances to the table.) I decline 
your offer. I will not be smuggled away by you, 
or their Medical Board. While I have breati to 
speak — {Tawns) — I will speak. 

Viceroy. If you want me to listen to you you 
must sit down. 

Mr. Shaw. Why should I sit down ? {He 
thumps the table with his manacled fist. Tke 
Viceroy manifests increasing alarm.) I see your 
contrivance. I know why you have brought me 
here. You mean to get rid of me privately. Well, 
you shan't. ( He is drawing back to his chair tvhen 
he notices iA^ Viceroy's hand cautiously approach- 
ing the button.) Stop! (TA^ Viceroy starts 
violently, withdrawing his hand by spontaneous 
nervous reflex action.) If you touch that bell — 
( 7he clock begins to strike twelve. Mr. Shaw 
yawns.) — I wUI throttle you — ( Tawn) — in the 
name of — (Tawn) — Humanity ! 

As the clock finishes striking, tke 
incantation by which Lady Wells re- 
leased him from tke spell of the wicked 
Palmist runs out, and Mr. Shaw relapses 
into the magical sle£p for ever. 

As he sinks down helplessly into his 
chair, the good-natured Viceroy stays the 


kandaiuh he lud been aoendimg towards 

tig Utkal buttoH, and lays it on the beB 


ViCEKOT. Fm damned if he hasn't gcme tx> 

sle^ again. {Rings ^ And about time, too, I 

— (Pulls himself up suddenly and smiles, as he sees 

his loay to success at last.) 

The Fabians come in softly to slow 

music; IjiJJY Wei-is first, sniffling^ but 

teitk a grief which looks for consolation, 

into a tiny handkerchief of delicau lace; 

Lords Blatchford and Keir-Hardie 

next) taith the sad but resolute air of men 

toko have done their duty; and the 

Marchioness last, clad in deep crape and 

loidou/s weeds, and leaning for support 

on the arm of the Munshi, who is amazed 

by the depth of her affliction. 

Viceroy. You may put your idol to bed again. 

Marchiokess. {Betsoeen her sobs) Is he quite 


Lady Wells. {Going towards Mr. Shaw) Dear 
Master ! 
Viceroy. Here, what are you going to do ? 
Lady Wells. Only to give him one last kiss. 
Viceroy. No ! You mustn't do that on any 

Lady Wells. {Flattered) You need not be 
jealous of the dead. 

Viceroy. But he isn't dead. ( The Fabians are 
astonished and dismayed. The sobs of the Mar- 
chioness cease suddenly.) He has fallen back 

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into his infernal sliunber, and this time I hope 
you'll have the sense to let Kim sleep it out. 

Marchioness. TTien he is mine for ever ! 

Lady Wells. But I don't understand. How 
did he come to go off again. 

Blatchford. Don't you see ? Before you 
kissed him you uttered the wish that he should 
wake for twenty-four hours. {Points to the clock.) 
The twenty-four hours have just expired, and so 
he has gone to sleep again. 

Viceroy. {Ringing his bell triumphantly) And 


TO SLEEP ! ( Hysterical laughter, in which the 
audience is alloioed to join. Mr. Shaw slowly 
turns his head and winks at the house, to signify 
that they have not yet heard the last of him.) 


[Followed by numerous recalls, shouts of 
" Author," and favourable notices in the next day^s 

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